Whether a dinker or a banger, a poacher or an addict – Dinkers & Bangers Pickleball Shop offers classy and cleverly themed apparel and gear, allowing players to express their personal style. The unique images and slogans applied to shirts, caps and even notecards double as great recruiting tools. Wearing a shirt that says “It’s a Dinking Game” is undoubtedly a conversation starter.
Established in April, almost a month after co-owner Katie Jennett Caska welcomed her third child into the world, the concept for the business had been percolating for over a year.
“The first time I stepped foot on a court, three years ago, I was like a kid in a candy shop,” effused Mary Ann Castine Sorrell, co-owner. “I couldn’t wait for the instruction to end so that I could see if I could feel the pop of the ball for myself. There was no real ‘pickleball style’ that I could see, and I found myself looking a lot. I also started tracking the fun terms used and found myself coining my own, filing ideas as I was playing.”
At the twilight of their lives, the Sorrells are raising three adopted children. What was once a decent retirement income was slipping away much sooner than anticipated.
“I kind of have to blame my grown kids for kicking this idea into fruition,” she laughs. “When Mother’s Day rolled around after I had become a full-fledged pickleball addict, they were looking for pickleball gifts for me. I received a sleeve of Onix outdoor balls and complaints from my kids that there just wasn’t anything else out there I’d like.”
Were other people looking for a way to express their passion for the sport – on and off the court? Sorrell started doing research and seeing who was out there, what they were doing, and identifying a niche that seemed to grow larger as she left her home court and ventured to tournaments.
“I knew early on that I wanted my former employee, Katie, to partner with me on this. I dragged her pregnant self down to our courts last summer and made my pitch,” added Sorrell.
Caska is a graphic designer with a very strong art background, a degree in graphic design and a huge amount of common sense.
“Mary Ann and I have been in business together, in one way or another, for over 10 years and when she has this much passion for something, I know to buckle down, hold on tight and plan for something great!” Caska said.
The women hope to one day share a court. In the meantime, their dreams are coming true because of the tremendous response the pickleball community has shown to their shop. “We are so grateful to everyone who has supported us, given us a chance, put in a good word, or shared their happiness at discovering our shop,” said Sorrell.
Check out what Dinkers & Bangers has to offer at www.dinkersandbangers.com.