Franco Harris On Building A Business, From Baked Goods To Fitness Apparel

Feb 14 2014, 9:08am CST | by

Franco Harris On Building A Business, From Baked Goods To Fitness Apparel

Franco Harris was a star during his 13-year NFL career, but when he played in the 1970s the finances of football were quite different.

“When I played everyone knew football wouldn’t take care of you forever,” says Pittsburgh Steelers legend Franco Harris. “We didn’t make that much money, so it kept things in perspective.”

As detailed in this week’s issue of Forbes, Harris moved into the food business following his retirement after the 1984 season, ultimately finding a product — a nutritious doughnut — that he built a bakery business (Super Bakery) around.

Harris learned the business from the ground up though, often loading and unloading boxes or manning a company booth at food shows, which he admits was challenging.

After all, as a four-time Super Bowl champion, soon-to-be Hall of Famer and the man who caught arguably the most famous pass in the history of the NFL (The Immaculate Reception in the 1972 AFC Playoffs), it’s understandable that Harris’ stardom would be expected to continue in retirement.

“It can be hard,” he says, “fans expect there to be a lot of glitz and glamour [and] people were in shock to see me loading a truck.”

What fans didn’t realize is Harris, who has remained in Pittsburgh, was building a business and learning lessons that he has brought to other ventures, including his latest.

Harris’ newest company, Silversport, is pushing a line of antimicrobial fitness and workout gear. The company’s socks, which profess to remain odor free even after days of wear thanks to nanosilver technology, are currently sold on the website of Kohl’s and Harris says the firm is talking to retail outlets about getting its products into stores.

Just like with Super Bakery though, Harris is starting from the ground floor. “To build a brand takes a lot,” he says. “I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to hit some niche things at the right time.”

Of course, Harris’ batting average isn’t perfect. An effort to save Parks Sausages, a venerable Baltimore-based company, failed in the 1990s and a decade earlier he gave up on what might have been his biggest moneymaker.

“I had the first license for player-name shirts,” Harris says, and he sold such apparel starting around the time he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 1984. Ultimately though, Harris lacked the financial know-how and resources to grow the business and gave up the license.

He suspects he would eventually have run up against a dispute with the players’ union — though he did give a percentage of proceeds to the stars whose shirts he sold — but still rues the venture as “the one that got away.”

For more from Franco Harris, including the advice he got from fellow Pittsburgh legend Willie Stargell, watch the video below:

Follow @SchaeferStreet

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Christopher H. Skinner, Senior Associate, Squire Sanders to Speak at Knowledge Group's Iranian Sanctions for 2014 and Beyond Live Webcast
New York, NY, April 24, 2014 --(PR.com)-- The Knowledge Group/The Knowledge Congress Live Webcast Series, the leading producer of regulatory focused webcasts, has announced today that Christopher H. Skinner, Senior...
 
 
Is The Future Of Television Social?
Today at the Brand Innovators’ Future of Television conference in New York, social media expert Ted Rubin will be sharing his perspective on the symbiotic relationship between TV and social media. In advance of his...
 
 
How To Screw Up On Social Media
Election 2012: Billionaires Speak Out On Social Media It’s not just the small companies and amateurs that make mistakes on social media. The fresh example of the NYPD and its attempt to get people to put pictures of...
 
 
London Live's Disastrous Ratings: 2,400 Watch Breakfast Show In City Of 9million
Last month, I wrote for Forbes.com about the imminent arrival in London of a media first – a local TV channel devoted solely to the UK’s capital city. I’d already been behind the scenes at the channel before its March...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Christopher H. Skinner, Senior Associate, Squire Sanders to Speak at Knowledge Group's Iranian Sanctions for 2014 and Beyond Live Webcast
New York, NY, April 24, 2014 --(PR.com)-- The Knowledge Group/The Knowledge Congress Live Webcast Series, the leading producer of regulatory focused webcasts, has announced today that Christopher H. Skinner, Senior...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Is The Future Of Television Social?
Today at the Brand Innovators’ Future of Television conference in New York, social media expert Ted Rubin will be sharing his perspective on the symbiotic relationship between TV and social media. In advance of his...
Read more on Business Balla
 
How To Screw Up On Social Media
Election 2012: Billionaires Speak Out On Social Media It’s not just the small companies and amateurs that make mistakes on social media. The fresh example of the NYPD and its attempt to get people to put pictures of...
Read more on Business Balla
 
London Live's Disastrous Ratings: 2,400 Watch Breakfast Show In City Of 9million
Last month, I wrote for Forbes.com about the imminent arrival in London of a media first – a local TV channel devoted solely to the UK’s capital city. I’d already been behind the scenes at the channel before its March...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Report: A Year After Bangladesh Disaster, Retailers Fail To Address Biggest Factory Risks
When Sarah Labowitz arrived in Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka this past February, it certainly didn’t look like nine months had passed since the factory collapse that claimed 1,129 lives. Outside the ruin of the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
How A Car-Crazy Entrepreneur Turned A Lifetime Passion Into A Lifetime Career
Elo has loved cars since he was a child and uses his mechanical and design skills to create unique vehicles. His customisations are second to none and clients from across the world seek him out to revitalise their...
Read more on Auto Balla
 
ITF Seniors World Championships at Polo Club Boca Raton
Boca Raton, FL, April 24, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Polo Club Boca Raton Hosts Opening Ceremonies of the ITF Seniors World Championships Margaret Court Cup (Women Age 45) and Dubler Cup (Men Age 45) Competition: April 21-26...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Code for India Announces First Ever Simultaneous Hackathon Event in Bangalore and Mountain View
Mountain View, CA, April 24, 2014 --(PR.com)-- Engineers in US and India Team Come Together to Create Apps Making India More Resilient to Natural Disasters Code for India, the non-profit organization that inspires...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Tori Spelling: Sex life was 'very good'
Tori Spelling thought she had a "very, very good" sex life with Dean McDermott. The 'True Tori' star - who has children Liam, seven, Stella, five, Hattie, two, and Finn, 20 months, with her husband - was left stunned...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla