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It’s a “G” Thing: Mitch Modell scores big in business, family and community, giving him the winning edge

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“Which is your favorite team Mitch?" I asked. "Oh I can’t say, you’re gonna put me on the spot, all New York teams!” Mitch Modell laughed.

Jerseys, t-shirts, hats, shoes- he's the athletic apparel guy in New York.

And the CEO of the largest family-owned sporting goods store in the country, Modell's.

“I love what I do," Mitch Modell said. "It’s a labor of love."

One for Mitch Modell that dates back years.

“My brother and I grew up loving sports," Modell said. "[We] loved watching sports, loved playing sports.”

From the beginning, he and his brother, Michael, were the best of friends.

“My brother played played soccer, little league and was on the golf team,” he said.

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A love of the game they both got from their dad, William.

“He always said, whatever you do, do what you love,” Modell remembered.

A father-son relationship that had its ups and downs.

“The one thing that I missed, he was always working," Modell said. "I understood that, maybe not so much at the time, but he only went to one baseball game.”

He didn't get a lot of quality time, but Mitch did learn some quality lessons.

“We were in the city, we see a homeless guy and my dad gives him a dollar bill," Modell recalled. "I said Dad, why’d you do that? He said, you always got to take care of people that are less fortunate from you and I never forgot that.”

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In 1987, Mitch and Michael became co-Presidents of Modell's.

“My father said I’m going to give you all the latitude to make the right decisions," he said.

Decision that helped the company nearly triple its number of retails stores.

But that success was scarred by tragedy.

“When Michael turned 48, he died of non-Hodgkin s Lymphoma," Modell said. "[He] was sick his entire life, from the time he was 13. He never had a good day [but he] never complained about it."

Something positive came out of that illness, the Modell family co-founded the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.

It's a non-profit that funds researched aimed at finding a cure and helps families battling these diseases.

In 2012, Mitch brought that giving spirit to the hit CBS TV show "Undercover Boss."

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He said that experience made him an even better employer.

“We got great associates that work for us, that really care about us," Modell said. "And as long as we take care of our customers, we know we’ll be in the game.”

And in case you ever forget what Mitch Modell is all about, just remember that famous jingle!

"Gotta go to Mo's, Modells! Gotta go to Modell's," we sang together. "Gotta to go Mo's Modells! Got to go to Mo's!"

 

PRODUCED BY: KIM PESTALOZZI