Good Sports

Words by Edward Marvin

Photos by Gino De Grandis

Words by Edward Marvin

If team sports play a role in your Peninsula life—whether it’s your own Little League memories or carpooling kids to practices—chances are you’ve ritually kicked off a season with a visit to Goetz Brothers Sporting Goods.
The present set of brothers running the iconic local business—Brent and Marc—carry on a legacy dating back to 1937. That’s when their great-grandmother Maude Goetz spotted a for-sale sign in the window of Gifts and Cards, a stationery store on Broadway in Redwood City. The family-run store went through several iterations—even carrying TVs, typewriters and pianos over the years—before exclusively committing to all-things-sports.

Along the way, Maude’s sons Frank and Joe picked up the mantle, followed by Maude’s grandson Steve and his wife Carolyn. And then came Brent and Marc, who worked alongside their dad for 20-plus years, relocating the store to San Carlos in 2016 before fully taking over in 2020.

That’s not all: Brent’s son and daughter, Dillon and Abby, and Marc’s kids, Grant and Ellen, put in time during high school—making them the fifth generation of the Goetz dynasty to help out with the business. Brent, who lives in Redwood City with his wife Maya, talks with PUNCH about what keeps this sports-minded family running.

What are your strongest sports-related memories from your childhood?
I remember my parents showing up to all of my and my brother’s sporting events. That support was huge for us as we grew up. I remember being on vacation in Tahoe but driving two hours each day back to Sacramento so I could play in a baseball tournament. And my parents always found ways to take us to large sporting events, like the World Cup at Stanford, the World Series and spring training.

How old were you when you started working at Goetz Brothers?
I started when I was 13, in the summers—selling, stocking, receiving merchandise, printing shirts and relacing gloves.

Which sports did you excel at in school?
I played both baseball and soccer at the varsity level in high school. I went to college at UC Riverside, redshirted in baseball my freshman year but then ended up playing three years of club soccer.

You also coached baseball and soccer for many years. How would you describe that experience?
Coaching is probably one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. You get to make an impact on the lives of young people—teaching them teamwork, positivity, responsibility and how to deal with failure.

Do you recall any special challenges being both dad and coach?
You hear of coaches having difficulty coaching their own kids. My kids were a pleasure to coach; they worked hard, had great attitudes and set great examples for the other players. I believe my relationship with my kids was enhanced because sports gave us programmed time with each other.

What’s your favorite thing about owning and running Goetz Brothers?
The thing that I really love is the fact that we get to watch kids grow up and hopefully bring the next generation of athletes to shop with us. Frequently, I’m told by customers that they remember when their dad or mom brought them to Goetz Brothers to get their first glove. It’s amazing that people associate that memory with our store.

How do you and your brother divide the workload?
Marc is mainly responsible for the majority of buying and I’m responsible for everything else: staffing and supervising, scheduling, accounting, sales.

What percentage of your business is baseball- and softball-related?
Probably 80 percent. A baseball player needs pants, socks, belt, cleats, gloves and a helmet. So there’s just a whole lot more merchandise you can sell to an individual player on the baseball/softball side of things than all the other sports. We still cover other team sports, but we’re known on the Peninsula as baseball specialists.

Coming from a sports family, were you always a big
Giants fan?
Definitely! We grew up at Candlestick, going to freezing-cold games and sitting in the bleachers.

Which season do you look back on most fondly?
I remember the years that Will Clark and Robby Thompson came up. That’s when you were really starting to fall in love with the team. My brother and I were big Will Clark fans.

The Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Did that make a big impact on business?
Oh, it was great. We always say that business goes up when the Giants are good ’cause kids want to play baseball.

Goetz Brothers, in one form or another, was in Redwood City for almost 80 years. Were a lot of customers sad when you left?
People were disappointed we were leaving, but when they step into our new store for the first time, they’re like, ‘Oh, we get it.’ More room, the lighting’s a whole lot better. And, they can find a parking spot!

What’s your number-one selling item?
This is going to sound so stupid, but it’s probably Big League Chew bubble gum. It’s amazing how much we go through. It’s an add-on sale to every kid who walks in the door.