4 C
Friday, November 15, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

A seamless transition for Paul Kalbfleisch

A post-retirement gig for an EDSS teacher and post-graduation job for a student sees a logical actual retirement change of ownership


Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

End of an era for MP

Two weeks having passed since the federal election, Harold Albrecht has had time to reflect on his...

Candidates make pitch to voters in Woolwich

Largely sticking to their respective party lines, the five candidates running in the Kitchener-Conestoga riding made their one all-candidates...

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta Rebiszewski Five candidates are vying for your vote in...


clear sky
4 ° C
6.1 °
1.7 °
59 %
1 %
6 °
1 °
1 °
3 °
4 °

Twenty-two years after retiring, Paul Kalbfleisch is actually going through with it.

After 32 years of teaching, Kalbfleisch putting away the chalk in 1997 only to launch PK Sporstwear in Elmira. Now, he’s handed the baton to Jeremy Weber, his long-time partner whose relationship ties back to EDSS.

Looking to retire for real, Kalbfleisch knew Weber was the ideal candidate to take over the business.

“I wouldn’t think of it going any other direction, it wasn’t a question for me,” said Kalbfleisch of his decision to leave the business in Weber’s hands as he heads into retirement.

Weber says he hopes to continue the company’s traditions by sticking to the values that made it so successful over the years.

“PK has left a legacy of caring for people and customers, and we really think it’s important to carry that on. We want to make people feel good and provide a service or a product, but also building relationships and caring for people while doing that,” said Weber.

PK Sportswear operated for many years as a home-based business before setting up shop in 2017 at a Park Avenue location in Elmira. The two often worked from their respective homes, taking on different roles in the operation that specializes in the likes of team uniforms. Weber did much of the designing early on, as well as the computer functions that Kalbfleisch was not so well-versed in. Together they would visit schools in the region about three to four times a week and to display their apparel, explained Kalbfleisch.

By visiting customers in person, they created a strong foundation for the business, he noted.

“We built the business on good service, and we felt our prices were competitive. Being in this school system myself, I sort of found that you didn’t get the best of service, people didn’t follow up.”

Now with a space for a showroom of their apparel, things have become easier for both the company and its customers. Just recently they also started doing in-house decorating, meaning they do their own embroidery, hot stamping and screenprinting, which saves a considerable amount of time versus outsourcing, says Weber.

The recent transition has meant some adjustments, however.

“Paul handled a lot of the running around and whatnot, and then I was like ‘oh, I have to somehow find a way to take that on.’ And just realizing too when Paul said that he wanted to make a clean cut — that he might actually mean that he wants to make a clean cut,” said Weber.

Their relation stems back to when Kalbfleisch was still working at Elmira District Secondary School and Weber was a student. They met briefly at that point, and then again when Weber took part in DECA – a high school program for emerging leaders and entrepreneurs – and Kalbfleisch was asked to be a judge.

Quickly after his retirement, Kalbfleisch came up with the idea of starting a sports-apparel business.

“Playing sports myself and going to school, I was always quite excited about getting some nice spirit wear. I enjoyed it when I did it at EDSS and then selling it, and I think making people feel happy about getting something that associates them with the school, or business that they belong to,” said Kalbfleisch of the impetus behind starting PK Sportswear in 2003.

What started as a one-man operation quickly grew into a company with two people who shared the same values –  to make people happy through a business. Shortly after graduating from EDSS, Weber found himself a job at PK Sportswear, where he was able to work part-time while also working at Wallenstein Feed & Supply.

“I didn’t think long-term [about] that being something I wanted to be doing. So, at the time I just saw it as an opportunity and I didn’t really know where it was going to go,” said Weber of his decision to join forces with Kalbfleisch at a young age.

After 32 years of teaching and 22 years of managing a business, Kalbfleisch decided it was time to finally retire. With the company in good hands, there’s nothing but a bright future ahead for PK Sportswear, a local company built on good service and a life-long friendship, he said.

“You’ve built a relationship over the years so part of that is hard because I knew I was going to miss him,” said Weber as he bids farewell to a business partner but not a friend.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


New watering system is powered by the sun

Many hands may make light work, but automating the process really lessens the load. That’s especially helpful when the work involves relying on volunteers to provide the manual labour.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Sugar Kings turn the screws on Brampton

Another home-and-home winning weekend helped the Elmira Sugar Kings solidify their hold on top spot in the GOJHL’s Midwestern Conference. A pair of...

Woolwich adopts new landscape guidelines for subdivisions as part of greening initiatives

Talk of trees right now typically involved the adjective Christmas, but Woolwich council is focusing just now on guidelines for planting in new...

Woolwich stays course with economic development

Woolwich’s vacant economic development and tourism officer (EDTO) position will be retained, councillors decided this week despite any numbers or measures to show...

EDSS looks to make use of new push for skilled-trades training

With measures taken on the provincial level to encourage high school students to enter the skilled trades, EDSS is in the process...

Wellesley rec. complex project moves into fundraising mode

Wellesley Township having cleared the way for a potential new $22-million recreation complex, the focus is now on putting together a fundraising campaign...

Virgil Wins the Lottery … but, then again, maybe not

It’s easy to day dream about striking it rich quick by winning the lottery, and all the possibilities that come along with...
- Advertisement -