More than snacks

Bobby Ashworth is a familiar face in the Northern Triad Soccer Club. For the past six years he’s transformed the concession stand at Recreational Acres to offer parents and players a one stop shopping experience.

Inside the concession stand Ashworth has set up a rack for clothes and sports equipment.

New and gently used cleats are set up outside of the concession stand for purchase. The proceeds go back into the Northern Triad Soccer Club.

When King’s Recreational Acres was built Bobby Ashworth’s baseball team was one of the first to play on the new field. When the game was over he made his way to the concession stand where his mother worked selling drinks and snacks.

Today Ashworth has kept that tradition alive working in the concession stand for the past six years, but he’s running it in a brand new way. He transformed the brown building adjacent to the soccer field into a one-stop shop for parents and players. Step in and you’ll find a glass counter stocked with candy, a popcorn machine and a cooler of drinks but there’s also shelves for new cleats, used cleats for five dollars a pair, shin guards, and clothes.

“I want it to be full service,” he said. “The prices on the items are cheaper than convenience stores so I want parents to come here instead of stopping by the store and picking up their Gatorade. For every bottle I sell the league makes money. It goes back into field maintenance, coach’s kits, cones, balls, nets, and general use.”

As a father of two sons Ashworth spent countless mornings on a soccer field and quickly realized many concession stands don’t open for soccer, especially competitive games.

“For us, it stays busy when travel teams come from Hickory, Asheboro, Charlotte, Greensboro. I wanted to make sure we were open and stocked and people seem to appreciate it,” he said.

Growing up Ashworth said he didn’t know much about soccer. He was a senior at South Stokes when the school put a team together for the first time.

“I never played the sport, and I wasn’t happy when my wife signed my son up for it. I thought it was a sport for kids that couldn’t play football,” he laughed.

But it only took a few games before he was hooked.

“Soccer is the best sport for young kids to play. They’re constantly moving whether they have the ball or not and its great exercise,” he said. “You run, jump, or kick and that’s what kids do naturally.”

Over the years Ashworth has been actively involved in the Northern Triad Soccer Club by coaching, serving on the board, and now running the concession stand.

He continues to come up with creative ideas to boost sales and it’s paid off. Each year the concession stand brings in more money than the year before.

“I love sales and marketing. I’ll go to sporting goods stores and find what’s on clearance and buy it up. I’ll get things at a good enough price to save parents money and still make a profit for the league.”

By choosing to utilize the side door and not the traditional window at the concession stand, Ashworth is able to watch the games while working.

“I’m up here roughly 15 hours a weekend. I enjoy sitting up here seeing the kids develop and see the look on their face when they score a goal or make a great pass. Typically in a game all 11 kids are going to touch the ball multiple times and I love that about this sport.”

He also loves giving back to the league his two sons have played on.

“It’s a great sense of satisfaction to feel like I’m making a difference,” he said.

Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.

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