The summer months are a popular time of year for golfing, and two Salina-based start-up businesses are helping enhance the sport’s experience.
Although Breasy Apparel branches out into the wider activewear sector, its golf division has taken off in recent months.
A business that started as a “what if” scenario has grown exponentially since its launch in January 2022. In fact, just months after its start, Breasy was featured at a golf tournament in San Diego. The tournament’s organizer, Buffalo Bills great Andre Reed, found the brand online and wanted them there. That break has catapulted Breasy into the forefront of various former and current professional athletes’ social media profiles, including Jeff Garcia, Adam Frazier and Bret Boone.
Chris Soto, Breasy’s founder, has lived in Salina for the past eight years after moving with his wife, who is a Salina native. He handles all of the brand’s business from his home, packaging orders and contacting clients from his living room.
The story of Breasy, whose inventory features brightly colored shirts with flashy designs, started in 2020. Soto said he came across a brand that made colorful polos. He bought one, but he didn’t like the way it fit him.
“It was cool, but the construction of the shirt itself wasn’t that good,” Soto said. “It felt baggy.”
That’s when the idea to start his own brand sparked. It was a new world to Soto, who had never worked in the apparel industry aside from a brief stint at Target in college.
“I started doing some research on the market and how to manufacture this stuff,” Soto said. “After all that, I thought I should go for it.”
Soto wanted a less baggy alternative to other activewear options, and something that could still be worn to the beach, the golf course or even out on a walk on a sunny day.
The brand name reflects the product’s goal. Soto originally wanted to call it “Breezy” but felt that was too generic. After weeks without a true name, Soto had the idea to combine the words “breezy” and “easy”, and it stuck. Soto said he wants the product to feel like you’re wearing a nice breeze.
The road to where it is now hasn’t been a smooth ride, though. Soto said with the marketplace as crowded as it is, it was hard to make any leeway.
“At the beginning it was really tough,” Soto said. “We didn’t have a name or a website. We just had our personal emails and an idea. It took a while for people to get back to us and take us serious.”
Breasy eventually found its first manufacturer, but that soon fell through, delaying the launch date by a few months. Finally, at the start of the year, everything became good to go. Soto said it worked out well in retrospect.
As for what’s next, Soto is working on getting Breasy into partnerships with some golf pro shops, tournaments and even music festivals. He said more and more athletes are reaching out as word of mouth gets out. Breasy had its best month yet in May, specifially in golf polo sales.
For Soto, who works full time in data analytics and is also a dad to two young kids, he hopes Breasy can keep up its momentum in the coming months and years.
“We have a lot of opportunities coming up which should be good for us,” Soto said. “Hopefully the summer keeps going up like it is right now, and we’ll keep rolling.”
You can find Breasy Apparel on social media @breasyapparel, and its website is breasyapparel.com. For those interested in Salina, local deliveries are available, depending on Soto’s lunch break schedule.
Andre Reed (left) and Seattle Mariners second baseman Adam Frazier (right) wearing Breasy Apparel (courtesy of Chris Soto)
Golf can sometimes be difficult for beginners to get into. That’s where ParPoints Golf steps in.
The mobile app companion to playing on a course provides an alternate way of keeping score, and it allows more parity between beginners and experinced golfers.
ParPoints Golf is a points scoring format based on the starting distance from each hole and the player’s ability to make par. For example, a golfer that makes par after starting 400 yards away scores more points than someone who scores par from 300 yards out.
Three Salina natives, Kevin Quinley, Brandon Ebert and Ryan Hannebaum, lauched the app in September 2020 after brainstorming on it for years. Quinley and Ebert work day jobs in financial advising in Salina, while Hannebaum works for a marketing firm in Kansas City. The inspiration for the points system came from Ebert, who wanted a way for his young kids to get into the sport without being frustrated by long holes and lots of swings. Quinley said he had seen a Golf Channel story from around the same time about starting kids close to each hole and gradually moving them back as they got better. That got the group of guys thinking.
ParPoints remained an idea until a round of golf with Fire Pit Collective and golf media member Matt Ginella, who encouraged the guys to follow through with the app. Quinley said that Ginella compared it to another popular golf alternative, TopGolf. With a little encouragement, the ball started rolling for ParPoints.
Quinley said since the launch, the focus has been on the technological side of the app. Hannebaum has helped design most of the in-app graphics. Only Hannebaum had any prior experince with software engineering, so both Quinley and Ebert have learned as the app has progressed.
Now that the interface is in a good spot, Quinley said he hopes to now work on growing the user base, which currently stands around 7,000 golfers. The next steps include more marketing tactics than just word of mouth, which has been the main driving force of new users to this point.
The app, which has free and paid options, can connect to any golf course in the world using GPS. Users just have to input the scores for holes. Quinley said a top draw for the app is “Mandatory Golf Fridays”, where users type in a PIN number seen on ParPoints social media, and their score from a golf round on that day goes on a leaderboard shared with all other users. Quinley said he hopes the appeal of being connected with others of all skill levels helps grow the format.
“ParPoints benefits every type of player,” Quinley said. “It’s a way to change up your home course. There’s some benefits to all levels of players, and it’s just a fun way to play.”
As for the future, contacts with the Fire Pit Collective and Barstool Sports have benefitted the app, and Quinley said it’s a great time to be in the golf industry with a start-up business.
“Golf is in a super boom right now,” Quinley said. “I feel that the timing is good, and we just got to make it happen.”
ParPoints Golf can be found on Facebook and Instagram @parpointsgolf. The app is available on most major app stores for smartphones and devices.
The in-app interface of ParPoints Golf (courtesy of Kevin Quinley)