Where’d that bat come from?
In Game 1 of the 2015 World Series, Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, using a bat from the Dove Tail Bat Company, hit a dramatic, game-tying home run in the ninth inning.
That night, Paul Lancisi, owner of Dove Tail Bats, received a text inquiring about the bat Gordon was using.
That text was from MLB 2015 MVP candidate Bryce Harper.
This is the life now for a successful bat company, headquartered in tiny Shirley Mills, Maine (population 320). You could say this tiny town carries a big stick – and does it ever. Paul has received similar inquiries from other MLB notables including the Baltimore Orioles’ superstar Manny Machado. Like most successful Maine businesses, Dove Tail Bats finds success due to that trademark Maine resourcefulness and determination.
It’s no surprise the bats have taken off like a dramatic Alex Gordon home run ball.
“I wanted to create an economy-proof business,” says Paul, who actually has three full-time jobs in Maine – running a kitchen showroom and a cabinet and furniture making business, along with the bat company. When downturns in real estate and remodeling happen, he has something to fall back on. Baseball has maintained its popularity and the need for bats certainly isn’t going away.
“I went to school for furniture making, so I know wood,” says Paul. He started the bat company in 2004, and it really started to catch on when he launched his e-commerce business in 2009. But it was his sales rep, Jake, whose connection to the Kansas City Royals offered Dove Tail Bats their biggest break, and in the process, put a tiny town in Maine on the map.
Paul and Jake traveled out to Arizona for Spring Training with a Dove Tail Bat made especially for Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer. Hosmer took batting practice with the bat and immediately started hitting rocket after rocket. He started using the Dove Tail Bats and many of his teammates followed suit. This partnership brought instant credibility at the highest level for Dove Tail. And it brought the bat to the largest stage in baseball: The World Series.
Paul has cross-trained all his employees who make furniture and cabinetry in the art of bat making, too. This has made the company pretty agile, filling orders as demand goes up. Paul received a call from Hosmer just before the World Series, asking for a lighter bat to combat the New York Mets’ hard-throwing pitching staff. The bats were made over the weekend, delivered on a Monday, and used in the game the following day.
In the next five years, Paul hopes to build Dove Tail Bats into a multi-million dollar company, and they’re already on their way. They have now made headway into Japan, The Netherlands, all of Latin America, Canada and elsewhere. And more MLB players are inquiring about the bats. Looks like Paul found a sweet spot where business and craftsmanship connect in a product whose roots all point back to Maine.
“We have access to the natural resources and have a great work ethic,” says Paul, who jokingly adds, “and we’re the largest growing UPS account in the country.”