Three Mattituck High School students have demonstrated they not only have noses for business, but big hearts as well.
Joe Aiello, Brady Mahon and Francis Buonaiuto — all juniors — are running their own clothing line business, Left Field Stop Line.
Left Field Stop Line began two years ago, originally with Brady and fellow Mattituck students Sean McDonald and Tyler Olsen. After Sean and Tyler went off to college, Joe and Francis stepped up to the plate to help Brady out.
Since its modest beginning when Left Field Stop Line offered only a baseball-themed tank top, the line has expanded. Now a variety of products are for sale, most with the LSFL logo imprinted on them. The items are varied: crew neck tops, sweatpants, hoodies, travel bags, gaiters, tank tops, backpacks, official LSFL pong jerseys, drawstring bags, sweatshirts, jackets, caps and shorts among them.
“I think definitely right now, it’s picking up a lot more,” Brady said. “The first year I’d say was kind of just like, we would joke around with it. It was like a baseball thing. Now we kind of look at it more as a school-wide thing.”
And they’re having a ball.
The three young businessmen are in close contact with many of their customers — fellow Mattituck students who they see walking the school hallways and wearing their brand.
The threesome collaborate on design ideas and use social media to promote the brand. “We all design stuff,” Joe said. “We all take part in videos.”
And they do a good deal of brainstorming.
“Almost every night, I’d say, we’re either getting a call or at someone’s house and just like throwing out ideas and drawing the designs and talking to our friends and seeing what they want, like what they think is cool,” said Francis.
The sudden death of a Mattituck sophomore, Ryan Oliver, on Jan. 28 hit the school hard. Francis recalled the waves of shock that struck the school on the morning students were informed of Ryan’s death.
“The whole school was dead silent,” Francis said. “You didn’t hear a sound in the whole school the first two periods.”
The LSFL threesome saw evidence of the pain their classmates were feeling and decided to do something about it. They decided to organize a fundraiser, a two-hour bowling event. The VIP room at The All Star in Riverhead was rented out March 27, drawing about 40 people. Tickets and merchandise were sold. Gift certificates donated by local businesses were raffled off. In all, $969 was raised. All of the proceeds were given to the Ollie Three Foundation in Ryan’s name, said Brady. That money was to help fund a school assembly presentation on mental health, he said.
“I found it moving and impressive,” Mattituck High School principal Shawn Petretti said. “They weren’t looking for anything out of it or any attention or anything like that. They weren’t moved to do it for their own personal reasons, but on behalf of Ryan.
“To leverage that for some common good instead of personal gain just shows tremendous maturity and compassion, which is what I found most impressive.”
Ryan’s memory will be kept alive by the planting of a tree before Friday’s boys lacrosse game near the Mattituck High School lacrosse field, where he used to play for the Tuckers. Members of the sophomore class initiated this by soliciting donations for the tree and a plaque, said Mr. Petretti.
LFSL’s website — leftfieldstopline.com — went live on April 24.
So, where does LFSL go from here? Its operators talk about possibly staging future fundraising events and ways to grow their business.
“We all had a talk one night, and we realized that none of us can see ourselves being older and working a 9-to-5 job,” Francis said. “So, we definitely want to expand on this.”
Said Mr. Petretti: “I think they set a great example for their classmates that if you’re a little creative and a bit talented and you’re willing to take some chances that there’s a lot of opportunity out there. When the kids come together to do anything, you know, they never cease to surprise and impress the faculty and staff here. They really are an amazing group of kids.”