PROSPECT LEAGUE NEWS
April 19, 2012Richmond RiverRats
The Dubois County Bombers have re-signed infielder Nick Stoia from Franklin College along with his college teammate, outfielder Scott Windler.
Windler from Central Catholic High School, Lafayette, IN, was selected as the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 2011, hitting .444 (52-for-117) with 34 runs, 31 RBI, 10 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, a slugging percentage of .752 and an on-base percentage of .504 while leading the Grizzlies to their first HCAC baseball tournament title. This year he’s picked up right where he left off. In the first 17 games, he’s hitting .429 (27-for-63), with 4 doubles, 2 triples and 18 RBI’s.
Stoia had a solid year at 2B/SS for the Bombers last year hitting .252 in 47 games with an OBP of .308. At Franklin this spring he's' off to a fast start hitting .369 (24-for-63) with a team leading 13 doubles, 3 HR’s, 21 RBI’s and a .708 slugging percentage.
Said Bomber Owner John Bigness, “Last year as a freshman Nick Stoia was one of our more consistent players. He should be even better with a year of Prospect League experience. Scott Winkler is an explosive talent who has put up some very impressive numbers. Our former manager and Bombers coach, Grant Bellak, thinks he’ll do well against the always tough Prospect League competition. Both Nick and Scott will contribute toward us fielding a playoff caliber team this summer.”
LIBERTY TWP, Mercer County — Mike Bencic's business knowledge doesn't come from a college degree. It comes from a source perhaps much more valuable these days: common sense.
The 1973 Slippery Rock High School graduate doesn't have an MBA from an Ivy League school. In fact, Bencic never attended college.
But what Bencic does have in abundance is success in his many pursuits.
“Many times, people try to make things so much harder than they are,” said Bencic, the owner of Liberty Gait, a many-pronged business he owns between Slippery Rock and Grove City. “I just kind of dove in and learned from mistakes.”
But Bencic, 56, hasn't made many.
He started a lawn and garden business in 1986 that generated a mere $20,000 in its first year.
Just five years later, he had turned that fledgling operation into a $400,000-a-year moneymaker.
What was the key to that success? Bencic said it was nothing extraordinary.
“Customer care,” he said. “If someone brought me a lawn mower to be repaired, I fixed it, and I washed it. People would come back and say, ‘That's not my mower.' They were impressed.”
And they kept coming back.
Bencic said he also went out of his way to help his customers. That included fetching parts for his repair instead of sending the consumer out to bring him the part.
“A philosophy I have is overdeliver,” Bencic said. “If I needed a part, I'd go get it. (Other places) would have the customer go get it. If you send your customer someplace else, two things can happen. They can be treated badly, which then is a poor reflection on you. Or they can be treated well, and you've lost them. Either way, you lose.”
Bencic has followed that philosophy throughout his business life and it has helped Liberty Gait grow.
Bencic sold off his lawn and garden business in 1992 to tackle another pursuit: real estate.
On the same property as his lawn and garden store, he built storage units. He also built office buildings, scattered around Slippery Rock in Butler County and Grove City in Mercer County and leased them.
Bencic's company also went into the modular home construction business.
Liberty Gait Storage has 153 storage units, including climate controlled facilities, which have become popular.
“We were one of the first places in the area to have climate controlled storage,” Bencic said.
Bencic is still hands-on in all his endeavors. That's why he and his wife, Laura, are the only full-time employees.
Bencic said a key to his success has been to remain involved.
“I don't pay someone to change a light bulb,” Bencic said. “I change it myself.”
That's just the way Bencic operates. It has served him well over the years, he said.
He's never been shy to act on an opportunity — a tip he said everyone should heed — and he isn't afraid to get his hands dirty.
“I always had the entrepreneur spirit,” Bencic said. “The main thing is cash flow. If I could give a tip to anyone, it would be this: How many can you own if each one costs you $1? You're limited. How many can you own if each one makes you $1? Then there's no limit.
“People run into trouble when they buy toys and don't reinvest in their business,” Bencic added. “Assets feed you. Liabilities eat you. It's like killing the chicken to get the egg. If you let the chicken live, you can eat eggs forever.”
While Bencic has a full plate with his many businesses, he still has time for another of his passions: baseball.
Bencic has owned the Slippery Rock Sliders, a baseball club in the Prospect League, since its inception in 2008.
It was one of the ways Bencic said he wanted to improve the quality of life in Butler County.
“You need good entertainment,” Bencic said. “We try to put a quality product on the field. I'm hoping the Grove City and Slippery Rock communities get behind it and it gets to the point where people will say, ‘The Sliders? They've always been here.'”
The Sliders are a family affair for the Bencics.
Bencic and his wife run the day-to-day operation of the club.
“If I didn't have my wife's support, it would be hard because there is a lot of work,” he said. “Without my wife, I'd be lost.”
Their daughter, Meghan, 5, can be found at Critchfield Park in Slippery Rock on Slider game nights in a team cheerleading uniform.
Bencic said one way to improve the county is if more businesses focused on family.
Even with so many businesses to run, Bencic has no regrets.
In fact, he urges people to start their own businesses.
“There's a lot to be said for being the one who pays the bills,” Bencic said.
“If you go to work for someone else, you work basically for 50 percent money. As a business owner, I take in money. I get to pay every bill I can pay. At the end of the year, I pay tax on what is left.
“Imagine what you could do if you got your paycheck and were told to go pay every bill you have and then we'll tax the rest. That would be a pretty good deal.”
Name: Mike Bencic
Address: Slippery Rock
Employment: Owner of Liberty Gait Inc.
Family: Wife, Laura; daughters Sarah, 25, and Meghan, 5
‘Assets feed you. Liabilities eat you.’
ON THE JOB
Name: Liberty Gait Storage
Address: 102 N. Gait Drive, Grove City
Owner: Mike Bencic
Services: Storage facilities, office space, modular home construction
BECKLEY — Not many people can say Kyle Busch owes them one. Maybe even fewer can brag that the controversial NASCAR star paid up.
It happened for Casey Roderick, a Georgia native trying to make it on the Nationwide circuit. He was running the series’ season opener at Daytona, and things were going well.
READ MORE: http://www.prospectleague.com/news/index.html?article_id=250