Sometimes love of your children can cost you a job, as it did for Rich Terpstra when he was dismissed because he left early too many times to watch his sons’ football practice.
But love of your children can also lead you to a new career, as it also did for Terpstra. He started BRT Sports, where he sells team clothing and does screen printing and embroidering.
One of Terpstra’s first jobs came in 1986, when he made bumper stickers for the Falcon football team that read “undefeated SCIL Champions.” That title was in jeopardy for a short while.
“We were in the final game of the season against Hopatcong, who hadn’t won a game in three years,” Terpstra recalled. “It was halftime and we were losing. We came back to win.”
BRT used to be run out of Terpstra’s home, but just over two years ago, he moved the business to the current location on Route 15 South.
“It was great working out of the house, but then I started working with more schools and had more things to display,” he said. “I also had more competition, so I wanted people to be able to see my stuff.”
Currently BRT does work for Sussex County Technical School, the Newton High School store and Immaculate Heart Academy in Bergen County.
“We’re getting a lot of things from them this year, including hoodies, T-shirts, crew necks, hats and aprons for our snack bar workers,” said Diane Castle of Sussex Technical School. “Rich came in and did a presentation for us, and we really liked the variety and quality of his work.”
Terpstra also works with many of the sports groups at Jefferson Township High School.
Most often, he said, the team supplies the design they want for their clothing.
“We like to get the kids involved,” he said. “There’s an art teacher at the high school, Renee Simler, that does the designs for a lot of the groups. I tell the kids they can make their design with stick figures and we’ll work on making it look the way they want.”
“I love Rich’s stuff,” said Sherridan Culbertson, parent of a Jefferson student. “It’s always very good quality.”
And what does Terpstra do when he’s not designing team clothing? He goes to Bruce Springsteen concerts—137 of them in 13 states and five countries, at last count. He even designed a logo that Clarence Clemons, Springsteen’s now deceased sax player, used on the golf cart that carried him around backstage at concerts.