Bat maker Warstic plans a Nov. 6 opening of its world headquarters and flagship store in Dallas, showing off more than just product in the experience-driven environment.
Warstic, owned by artist Jack White, former professional baseball player Ian Kinsler and entrepreneur Ben Jenkins, who founded the company, has had plans to open the Deep Ellum neighborhood spot since 2018 and has been working on construction since last year.
“This building is not just for us,” Jenkins says. “Around 90% of the building is dedicated to giving an in-person, interactive experience of our brand.”
The space includes the brand’s flagship retail store, a training and educational center, a custom wood bat design studio and factory, coffee shop and speakeasy. The new site will give the company’s internal leadership with a creative design studio and meeting space.
Inspired by White’s Third Man Records locations, Warstic wanted to give customers an “emotionally charged physical experience.”
Having originally emerged as a direct-to-consumer brand, Warstic is now in national retailers, found in college baseball and has been swung in Major League Baseball by Kinsler, Justin Upton, Miguel Cabrera, Bryce Harper, Matt Kemp, Nick Castellanos, Kevin Pillar, Brent Rooker and Jake Mangum.
The brick-and-mortar retail outlet will include limited-edition small-batch production runs only available at the store and feature a studio dedicated to personalized baseball and softball bat fittings. Jenkins calls the site a place to learn. “Yes, we’re selling sporting goods, but we want to make it a personal experience,” Jenkins says. “You can have a fitting to find the bat that fits your style of play, not just what is our best-selling product that we want to sell you on.”
The Warstic Lathe & Stain Room offers a fully functional wood bat factory and stain development lab, clad from floor to ceiling in metallic gold stain featuring black machinery. This gives visitors a chance to watch wood baseball bats—and drumsticks created from recycled broken wood bats—go from raw wood to finished product.
“The Lathe and Stain room is a place where we will push the boundaries of design on wood baseball bats and more,” Jenkins says.
The Battle Hall is an indoor-outdoor training center and batting cage that can convert to a speaking center for educational content creation. The DBLHawk Coffee shop will have a baseball dugout-style patio and the basement includes The Woodmen’s Lounge, a private live music venue and speakeasy lounge featuring an antique 1940s-era bar, memorabilia, vintage game room and music stage.
“This place is about art and design meeting ‘stic’ sports for athletes with a warrior’s mentality,” Jenkins says. “Every detail ties back to this position. It’s not about traditional nostalgic, historical baseball, although we do have that appreciation and make some fun vintage-inspired products. You have never seen baseball like Warstic expresses it.”
Warstic has focused on baseball, softball and lacrosse, but also includes small batch gear for fishing, hunting and other sports. Jenkins, a former Minor League Baseball player and designer at an advertising agency, started the brand before partnering with White and Kinsler. Warstic started in wood but has since expanded into alloy products.
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.