by Magda Dakin
WORCESTER - Taken from a common coaches' term when working with young hockey teams, players are encouraged to, “ Play clean and hard.” Owner and manager of Kleen ’n Hard Sports, Mike Ciavola, was actively involved in his young son’s hockey activities when he opened his store in 2005. It began as a store that specialized in all phases of hockey services, cleaning, and sales but has since expanded to include figure skating, lacrosse, baseball/softball, golf, soccer, football and field hockey.
Kleen ‘n Hard Sports is a unique destination store located in a semi-commercial area that is a little off the beaten path but is well worth finding. It is an eclectic mix of the old and the new. The front door opens up to a ramp running beside the open repair workshop area of the store. It’s obvious that these folks are serious about their sports and keeping your equipment in the best possible working order. A quick scan of the workshop area at any time will show many different items being restored and blades being sharpened. During a recent trip there were stacks of hockey skates being sharpened, blades being replaced, a broken hockey stick in the clamps in the process of being repaired, baseball gloves being restrung, sewing repairs on various protective pads, and a golf club grip being refit.
What’s also obviously clear is the store’s commitment to giving every sport’s enthusiast exactly what he they want and need when it comes to their sports equipment. If you have a baseball glove that fits just right and you absolutely love it, you can have it restrung and reconditioned, no need to replace it. If you’ve outgrown it or just want a change, the store will take it in trade for up to half of the cost of a new glove. The same is true for all other sports equipment as well. Store owner Mike says his middle name is ‘frugal’ and his store policies definitely make it much easier and more affordable to properly outfit all the players in your family. Be sure to check out their website for the details on their trade-in options, which include selling your items for immediate store credit or to sell on consignment.
As you wander through the rooms at Kleen ‘n Hard Sports you see that each area is dedicated to a particular sport. Each section is crammed full of every conceivable kind of equipment you might need from brand new stock to gently pre-loved pieces, one that is sure to fit your particular needs and budget.
One of the major reasons this store and it’ contents are so popular is the large cleaning machine that dominates the side room. The Esporta Wash System cleans and disinfects ALL kinds of equipment, from skates and pads to gloves and the bags that hold everything. All the pre-owned equipment is cleaned before it is sold, so it is like new! No more worrying about spreading nasty germs and infections and best of all, NO SMELL. Currently Kleen ‘n Hard Sports is contracted to clean the sports equipment for many local (and a few not-so-local) teams and schools but they will also do your individual pieces so you no longer have to demand that the kids leave their sports bags in the garage.
Owner/Manager Mike Ciavoli loves what he does and credits his spiritual beliefs with his continued success in this sometimes challenging venture. His previous career in manufacturing operations was a perfect training ground for his present work in the detail-oriented retail trade. All of the employees working at Kleen ’n Hard Sports have comprehensive training and a background in hockey, perfectly poised to help the customers and are available to answer questions intelligently. Mike values honesty and loyalty and it shows in all aspects of his business. The store is open daily from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and closed on Sunday. The website for more detailed information is www.kleennhardsports.com. The shop is located at 70 James St, just three minutes off I-290; complete directions from all areas are on the website. Phone 508-755-8164.