The Clark Street Sports Story

Image Left: Ridvan Mustafa of Clark Street Sports. Image Right: Jason Caref of Clark Street Sports

Getting Started...

It all started in the early 90's when four friends Ridvan Mustafa, Jason Caref and brothers, Arthur and Philip De Leon began selling t-shirts out of bags in the busy streets surrounding Wrigley Field for our friend and mentor, Forest Cowley. Forest brought the four of us under his wing and taught us not only the business, but the importance of keeping our hearts and heads in the right place. Tragically, Forest lost his life to a violent crime in June of 2004.

Jason remembers Forest: " He was our mentor, brother, and friend that inspired this business. We still model our business relationships after him, with friendship, and the biggest heart. We miss him every day."

We took the business and life lessons that Forest instilled in us and created Clark Street Sports in 2004, and in many ways his legacy lives on through us. We quickly grew from street vending, to mobile kiosks, to souvenir trailers and finally to multiple retail stores outside many of Chicago's major sports stadiums and shopping malls. Much of our success can also be accredited to understanding Chicago sports fans because we are Chicago sports fans.

Growing up in Chicago, we instinctively felt the pride and passion sports fans have for their hometown teams. We saw this as an opportunity to serve the great fans of this city with the most complete and progessive line of licensed team apparel in Chicagoland. We pride ourselves on selling quality memorabilia that we are not only proud to sell, but also to wear.

Growing...

We have grown from 6 employees in the early days, to over 40. All four partners are directly involved in the business on a daily basis. Each provides valuable contributions that continue to push us toward our mission of becoming the premier source for the most exciting selection of apparel that represents the passion that sports fans have for their Chicago teams.

In 2007, we opened our first retail store near Wrigley Field at 3465 N. Clark Street in Chicago, while continuing to operate our four outdoor game day kiosks. The experience we gained while working in this dynamic enviroment has helped us further develop the keen sense of styles and service our customers look for while shopping for their favorite team apparel.

In the fall of 2007, we continued our growth and entered into our first shopping mall, Westfield Hawthorn Shopping Mall in Vernon Hills, Illinois. Again, we experienced a great connection with our customers and this led us to open two more mall locations, One at Old Orchard Shopping Mall in Skokie, Illinois and another in Northbrook Court Shopping Mall in Northbrook, Illinois.

In keeping with our roots of staying close to the events and stadiums that our customers visit, we expanded our locations to include a souvenir trailer outside of Soldier Field (game days only) and two more stores outside of Wrigley Field: one at 948 W. Addison and another at 3650 N. Clark. We also opened a brand new store across from the United Center at 1960 W. Madison Ave. We will continue to build our presence and serve our customers at these stadium locations giving us a distinct relationship with our community and the fans.

Above Images: Souvenir trailer near Soldier Field. We opened this location in the Fall of 2007 and have expanded to another location in front of the Shedd Aquarium during summer months, retailing Chicago team apparel as well as general Chicago souvenirs. We also operate a concessions stand during the St. Patrick's Day parade along Columbus Ave. in the early spring and during the Air and Water show at North Ave. Beach in August.

Image Above Left: Our newest store located directly across from the United Center provides an outstanding selection of Bulls and Blackhawks merchandise to game day crowds as well as the near west side community (opened in December 2009)..

Image Above Right: Opened in spring of 2008, this unique and progessive addition to the Wrigleyville shopping scene is a 3000 square foot seasonal store open from March ro November. This location is a high-volume store serving thousands of customers during the Cubs season.

Charities/Donations...

We contribute to several charitable causes and foundations: Make a Wish, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, Salvation Army, and numerous local charitable events.

Advertising...

We can frequently be heard on some of Chicagoland's best radio stations such as: ESPN 1000am, The Score 670am, WGN Radio 780am, Q101 fm, The Loop 97.9fm and The Jack 104.3fm

Community Membership...

ICNC Industrial Council of Near West Chicago, Lakeview Merchants Association

Some of our famous customers include...

Jim Belushi, Kyle Krover of the Chicago Bulls, Chestor Taylor, Lance Briggs of the Chicago Bears and Greg Olsen.

Image Above Left: Ridvan Mustafa and Jim Belushi. Image Above Right: Loren Laxamana and Chester Taylor

Image Above Left: Kyle Krover of the Chicago Bulls. Image Above Right: Felipe Flores and Lance Briggs at Clark Street Sports Old Orchard.

Clark Street Sports
Where Real Fans Shop

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