Joplin Pro Image Sports changes ownership

JOPLIN, MO – Many of you may not have heard of Joplin, Missouri before a tragic tornado in 2011 made the destruction of the area national news, but the city itself has always been a great sports town.  The region is generally filled with Chiefs fans (Joplin is 157 miles away from Kansas City), but because Joplin lays on the borders of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas, there are myriad of avid college fans from nearby schools in each state.

Jason & Michelle Ferguson, avid sports fans, saw the licensed sports apparel industry as a natural fit to accomplish both their professional and personal goals after working in corporate America. In the early part of 2001 they opened TNT Sports at the North Park Mall in Joplin, Missouri. The store opened as a novelty/memorabilia store, and the Ferguson’s were having success. Sales were good, and product was turning at a reasonable rate, but they quickly saw the limitations of their business.

“We saw their was a need to broaden our teams and product. We needed to get into apparel. We wanted to offer people what they wanted,” said Michelle Ferguson.

Only one problem with that: they couldn’t get accounts with any of the apparel or headwear vendors. They needed a more powerful brand name as a company. What they needed was Pro Image Sports.

Once the Ferguson’s joined the Pro Image Sports franchise in 2004 they were able to get accounts open with all key vendors. They also saw deeper discounts than they were able to acquire on their own.  Sales quickly thrived.  After nearly a 10-year run with Pro Image Sports the Ferguson’s decided it was time to sell their store.

Enter Paul Shillingstad.

Paul Shillingstad at the 2013 Pro Image Sports Convention


Paul started building his Pro Image Sports footprint throughout the midwest in the late 90’s, and has grown his business into 11 stores.  He was interested in the store in Joplin immediately as he liked the draw of so many teams to sell, and found the terms of the deal favorable.  The Ferguson’s were able to execute their exit strategy by striking a deal with Shillingstad.  The store changed hands in May.  It took a couple of months, but adding a fresh Pro Image Sports store front and infusing new product the customers hadn’t seen (including an expanded offering of Dallas Cowboys apparel), sales have increased.

Pro Image Sports will maintain being the epicenter of sports licensed product in the greater Joplin area.  If you’re in the area come by and check out the new store makeover.


Request Info

Leave a Reply