I just want to take a moment tonight to remember our great friend Brian LeBoeuf, owner of Sports Minded Unlimited in New Jersey. The sports memorabilia world lost Brian to a battle against cancer today. It saddens us beyond words. Brian was SUCH an amazing man, gifted with the biggest of hearts. He taught me more about running a proper family owned business than he would have ever known. When we first reached out to Brian, it was for a Marty Brodeur signing. At his store in New Jersey. Up to that day, Marty strictly did not want to be taken in pictures signing goalie masks. I called Brian weeks before the signing, and asked him:
"Hey Brian, do you think you can make a picture opp with Marty happen for us?"
Brian says: "Andy, I've never met you before. But you sound like a good guy. Just come down to Jersey, and I'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU".
We packed the truck, drove 6 hours down south. Trunk full of masks, anxious as hell that Marty would refuse to take pictures with us AGAIN. When we arrived at Brian's store, Brian came out to greet us. He tells me: "Andy, I've got a table setup for you downstairs in the private room. You will be able to get your items signed quietly and I'll introduce you personally to Marty". Tons of people were calling Brian, asking him to do this, setup that, call Marty, take care of tickets. The line up went all around his store. Through all the mayhem, Brian looks over at me with a huge smile . You knew the man loved his job. And he goes: "I got you, Andy".
Rightfully so, when Marty Brodeur's truck pulled up. Brian went out first to greet him. Took him into the private room downstairs and he goes: "Marty, I want you to meet some special friends of mine. They drove all the way down from Quebec. I think you guys might have French-Speaking in common". Everyone laughs, Marty was SUPER COOL with us because Brian made everyone welcomed at his store. It was a family setting after all. After the signing, Brian comes to me, towering over me, he gives me a huge nudge on the arm and says: "This is how we take care of our people in New Jersey!" Letting out a loud, whole heartedly laugh.
After the private session, Marty goes upstairs for the public signing. Brian makes a space for us on his store counter, asks his wife to move some stuff over so that we can setup our masks. He introduces us to his wonderful daughter Emily LeBoeuf and I spend the rest of the evening with the BIGGEST little boy smile on our face. Emily invites our pets Herky and Milton into the store. Brian's family checks up with us all evening. Making sure we're all good. Looking at how all of Brian's family members were involved in the family business. Hustling like crazy, taking care of clients, laughing and hugging clients, joking with the talent and then all having pizza and beers together. Everyone seemed to LOVE being around Brian and working with and for Brian. It was specifically THAT night that it hit me: This is EXACTLY how a man is supposed to run his family business. And this is EXACTLY how I want my business to be ran one day.
We at Goalie Mask Collector / ARMORI STEELE invite you to support the Leboeuf family through these hardest of times by supporting their incredible family owned and ran business Sports Minded Unlimited. Go on their site and buy some memorabilia! Let Brian's life long work grow on!
Cheers my great friend, and may the afterlife welcome you as warmly as you welcomed us into your home, NEW JERSEY STYLE!