Complete Athlete takes athletic, team store to new level

Published 12:12 am Saturday, April 8, 2023

PORT NECHES — Customers know Complete Athlete as an athletic and team store, but the community knows Complete Athlete as a business giving back to those they serve.

Recently named Port Neches Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year, Complete Athlete has been in operation since the 1970s.

Current owners Jesse and Carrie Queen Garcia are no strangers to the marketplace.

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Jesse has worked at Complete Athlete since 1999 — only taking a small break after he got married to Carrie and started growing their family.

He took a job with Munro’s Safety Apparel out of Beaumont, working as a regional operations manager due to a benefits plan that helped the family.

“Rosie Ramos, who owned the company since 1978 I think, decided it was time for her to sell,” Carrie said. “The company that Jesse was working for reached out to her and decided they wanted to organize the transaction there. Bill Munro had it for maybe a year and approached Jesse and said, ‘Would you be interested in buying it?’ and then the ball would just roll from there.”

Complete Athlete is located at 1401 Magnolia Avenue in Port Neches. Call 409-722-2621 for more information. (Tim Cohrs/Special to The News)

Jesse and Carrie are keeping the original business premise intact while building upon it.

“Rosie Ramos, when she started this, was a professor in college and was able to reach out to college coaches and high school coaches,” Jesse said. “So, our strong suit is we do uniforms for any sport in this area: from high schools to colleges to little leagues to select teams.

“Since Carrie and I have taken over, Carrie has done an amazing job of venturing outside of the athletic world. We do anything from your restaurants to lube shops to bars and barber shops. We’re able to do a lot. What I mean by that is we do T-shirts, polos, hats, aprons — anything you can think of clothing wise.”

While Jesse loves providing athletic team apparel, they feel they need to explore different products and services in order.

According to Jesse, with the way the industry is going, you have to look at other avenues to keep the business growing.

Part of this effort is expanding the physical retail space.

“We’re also very proud of the expansion of our retail floor,” Carrie said. “When we bought it, it was very tiny. It had a couple of T-shirts on it. Now we feature a lot of spiritwear, where the community can come in for just about any sport and any local school.”

The most important thing to Jesse and Carrie is holding their family close in everything they do.

An expanded sales room is important at Complete Athlete. (Tim Cohrs/Special to The News)

“We enjoy working with each other, getting to see each other every day,” Carrie said. “I know that can be kind of a hard pill to swallow, being with your husband day in and day out, but I think we really do enjoy each other’s company. We work well together.

“When we say we are family owned and operated, that is 100 percent true. My sister-in-law works in the shipping department. I’ve got two nephews back there in silkscreen. My other nephew is working on the retail floor. We are running with the heart of our family here.”

Jesse said he also likes the freedom of the small business as they control their hours, which provides time outside of work for family.

While the Garcias biological family is important, the second family they serve is also important.

The Garcias are active in community fundraising for PTAs, charities, school clubs and more.

“I use the word homegrown,” Jesse said. “We’re both homegrown. (Carrie) is from Port Arthur. I’m from Nederland and we live in Port Neches with four kids now. As far as being a part of the community — with kids and everything going on, it just came naturally. To be involved in a lot of things and to be a part of this community is amazing.”

Jesse and Carrie said community members look out for each other when times are tough.

“You help out as much as you can,” Jesse said. “Whether it be a fundraiser, link sale or anything like that. We just involve ourselves in a lot of what the community has to offer. In doing that, it turns around and helps build our business. We love our community, and we want to be a part of it.”

In a world dominated by large retailers such as Walmart and Amazon, the Garcias said shopping local is crucial.

“There are online stores that do what we do,” Carrie said. “We can’t survive unless the people love on us the way that we love on them. If we don’t have respect, if we don’t have repeat customers, if we don’t have people that want to support local businesses, we’re going to fail. And I don’t want that ever to be the case. I think that our chances are higher than anywhere else (to succeed) because we have such a wonderful community.”

Complete Athlete is located at 1401 Magnolia Avenue in Port Neches. Call 409-722-2621.

By Tim Cohrs