SOUTH BRONX, New York City (WABC) -- A group of mom-and-pop shops in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium are getting a new lease on life after Nike agreed to a deal to allow them to keep selling team gear.
The eight shops were in jeopardy of losing the rights to sell Yankees memorabilia as part of a new deal between Nike and Major League Baseball.
But local leaders stepped up to the plate, and now, the stores on 161st Street and River Avenue will stay in the game.
It's a home run for the small but iconic businesses serving the South Bronx for as long as anyone can remember.
"Since the 1930s, these businesses have been here in the Bronx," Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson said. "These businesses matter. Small businesses matter. Bronx businesses matter."
Several weeks ago, Nike announced the new agreement with MLB as exclusive uniform and merchandise supplier, preventing stores not licensed as "premium distribution points" from selling jerseys, sweatshirts or jackets. And that meant Pinstripe Sports and the other small businesses would have to sit out the 2020 season out.
"It would be even closed by next season if you don't have jerseys jackets or anything," Pinstripe's Saleh Abdulla said.
Local officials, the 161st Business Improvement District and even the New York Yankees themselves went to bat for the local stores, which employ more than 100 people and contribute more than $1 million to merchandise sales annually.
"The magnitude of this problem is extreme," the team said, and as a result, Nike has agreed to keeping with Bronx traditions, licensing the local retailers.
Majestic gear is still being sold in stores until the contract takes effect in January, when prices will likely change too. Store owners say they will face that challenge when they get there, but for now, they are basking in the glow of the big win.
The New York Yankees released the following statement:
"We are pleased that Nike and Major League Baseball expeditiously moved to address this issue. Constructive dialogue that was initiated by our local council members and partners in the business improvement district led us to urge Nike and Major League Baseball to work together on a solution that recognized the needs of those who live in the neighborhood surrounding Yankee Stadium. We are heartened by the swift resolution that will allow local business owners to continue to sell a wide variety of Yankees merchandise. The South Bronx is our home, and we take pride in being a productive member of our community."
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