A 27 Year Old Starts a Business Selling... Used Astro Turf?
The Story Behind The Buffalo Turf Company
Pat Brady with the Buffalo Turf Company here, and we’re going to talk a little bit about how this whole project came to be, how I got the turf, what motivated me to get it, and where we are now.
One of the questions that I answer all the time when we’re talking about the turf is “why did you want to do this?” And there’s a few reasons.
Why I bought the game-used New Era Field turf
First, I was born here, I’ve lived here all my life. I love this city, I love the fans, I love the sports. I wanted to do something for everybody in those communities. I wanted a bigger part of it than just being a fan. I knew this was going to be a huge challenge. I knew it was going to take a lot of resources, a lot of people. It was going to take a lot of time, for sure. But the connection between buyers and sellers on the internet, being able to start a business with all of the technology, all of the apps that we have now, really just gave me confidence to be able to dig into this with everything. And knowing the support that I was going to have from the community and from the fans really just drove it home and let me go for it.
How The Buffalo Turf Company came together
So let’s talk a little bit about how I got the turf, how this came to be. The story’s been pretty well documented online. You can look this up. We’ll put a bunch of links around - actually the links are already on our website so you can click those and read the articles.
The turf auction and getting things ready for the Buffalo Bills fans
I found out about this opportunity through the Buffalo News. They wrote an article stating that the turf was being replaced at the stadium at New Era Field, and that the old turf was going to be saved and it was going to be sold off in some capacity. At the time we didn’t know how it was going to go, so I just kind of kept my ear to the ground to figure out what was going to happen. And the turf was listed on an auction site called Cash Auctions, which is a local auction house. And it was on there for, I want to say, four or five weeks. The auction ran for three weeks, and that is about how much time I had to get everything figured out - how I was going to pick the turf up, where I was going to put it, how I was going to get it there, and really, about how much it was going to cost me.
So I won the auction for $4551, and once the auction was over I had a week to get it out of ECC South and to my warehouse. So I had four people and two fork trucks working on one end at ECC. And then I had the same - I had four people and two fork trucks working on the other end at my warehouse. And in between there we used four flatbed trailers - 48 foot trailers - and we put as much turf and as much rubber on the trucks as we could every trip. And we ran, I think, for about ten hours that day. So all in all, it cost me $4500 for the turf, and then it cost me about $10,000 in labor and equipment rentals and trucking to get it moved to my warehouse.
After that, we spent a week and a half getting acclimated. Getting the turf cut up into some pieces that we could sell. And in that week and a half I had no idea how this whole thing was going to go. I had no idea if it was going to work - if I was going to be left holding the bag or a whole bunch of turf and be out a bunch of money. So I didn’t really know what was going to happen until I launched the website. The website launched on June 30th, and that week I was prepared to ship 100 orders - I had supplies to ship 100 orders. I had enough material cut, thinking that I was only going to get 100 orders in the first week and then everything was going to be pretty relaxed.
The amazing Bills Backers and fans
I received 100 orders for turf in the first 10 minutes of launching the website. So, very quickly everything went from being maybe a side project and something that was going to keep me busy on the weekends, to a huge project that was going to require all of my time. So the day after the website launched I had to walk into where I was currently working and just say, “Hey, I can’t do it anymore. I can’t be here, I’ve got a thousand people that are expecting me to be shipping them turf.”
So it took us about three weeks to dig out of that initial launch backlog that we had in orders. So everybody was around then can remember me sending out emails and trying to get out as much communication as possible - trying to tell people what we were doing and where we were at, and what we were up against. And I think Buffalo is the only place in the country where you can be that behind - when you said you were going to ship something in two to three days and everybody was nothing but supportive. We didn’t really have any issues during that time - we worked as hard as we could to get everything out, and everybody was really supportive. And it really made the whole process a lot easier knowing that we weren’t going to have an angry mob knocking on the door if we couldn’t get it done.
So we did get it done. We were pretty happy after the first six weeks of what we had accomplished.
The amazing history of the New Era Field turf
So, some interesting facts about this field and what happened - what happened on it, what makes it significant.
In 2011, the Bills beat the Patriots 34-31. Everybody remembers that game.
Another interesting fact about this field is 60% of the wins that the Bills had from 2011 to 2018 happened on that field. So 60% of the games were won at home and only 40% of them were won away. So in a sense this material, the field, belongs with the fans. The fans are what helped the team win there and they won it on that surface. So that only makes it right that the fans have access to it, so they can get it back.
In 2017, the Bills broke the playoff drought. So right on that surface the long, 20 year drought ended.
And then we can think about the other - aside from the team - things that happened on that field. There was a dildo thrown on that field, there was a streaker that ran across that field, and we can also remember all of the clips and everything that made it onto barstool and went viral, and really made tailgating in Buffalo something that NFL fans around the country want to experience.
Get your own piece of the Bills New Era Field turf history
The Buffalo Bills, the Bills Backers, and fans in Buffalo have a proud and amazing history. When you add the clear, winning combination of the fans and the home turf - it only makes sense that any Bills fan should be able to own their very own piece of this history.
This is the core reason why we went about making all this happen - to reconnect the fans with the turf that gave us the win over the Patriots, the turf that finally broke the playoff drought. We want to make it easy for you to be even more closely connected to the team and its history. Regardless of whether you get a 25 Sq Ft 5’ x 5’ Yard Line that’s perfect for the patio or for indoor use, or you want a simple Game Day Can Cooler (Field Turf). We have the optimal gift for any Buffalo Bills fan. For example, we also have a great Shadow Box product, that’s beautifully displayed and perfect for collectors. And yes, the Shadow Box also comes in white!
If you want to connect with us and see some amazing fan images of how other Bills fans are loving their game-used turf, please follow us on social media. Follow our Facebook page here, or check out our Instagram page here. We look forward to connecting with you!