LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Some businesses are doing anything and everything they can to make it through the end of the pandemic. Hillerich and Bradsby, owners of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, are keeping the bats swinging in Louisville with an idea that started as a way to help make ends meet.
A new factory outlet store now opens its doors onto Main Street to give visitors a chance to swing exclusive bats for the first time.
Devotion, innovation and a love for baseball led to the new idea, which was created in one month.
Anne Jewell, vice president and executive director of Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, said the company has been economically devastated since the start of the pandemic. Jewell said the company faced extreme financial losses however she wouldn’t specify how much.
Other attractions and museums on Main Street got creative. The Frazier Museum is offering free tickets to get visitors in its doors.
To supplement income, Slugger swung open the old doors of a building and created a store. James Dolan came all the way from New Jersey and stepped up to the plate for an experience.
“This is part of American history,” Dolan said. “Baseball, apple pie, Chevrolet, Corvettes it’s part of being American. When you come in here you touch history. I held a bat Babe Ruth used when he hit two home runs. Not a simulated bat, the actual bat that the Babe held.”
It’s the first time MLB Prime bats will be sold directly to the public from the factory. There will be exclusive products and sales attached through the year.
“This is hands on,” Dolan said. “Real wood, this is not visual this is not your touching a screen. You’re not swiping right. You’re swinging for the fences.”
The store is open Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 p.m. to 3 p.m.