Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Switching Gears to Make New Gear

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Switching Gears to Make New Gear

Article excerpt

Dan Uffleman is always moving. He's always looking for the next big thing.

So it didn't take him long to realize that eight hours cooped up in an office wasn't for him.

Last year, Uffleman abandoned his Manhattan accounting office and returned to his roots as a wrestler, turning a small piece of plastic that fits in the palm of your hand into a thriving clothing and equipment manufacturing company that supplies some of the top wrestling teams in North Jersey.

"I never thought I'd be able to turn wrestling into a business," said Uffleman, who wrestled for Pascack Hills from 2000-04. "I was just looking for something for me to do."

What it became is 5-Kount Wrestling Gear, a company that he and his brother, Adam, another former Pascack Hills wrestler, run out of the basement of their River Vale home.

Less than a year in existence, 5-Kount has provided warm-up gear to Bergen Catholic and a local wrestling club, and singlets to St. Joseph, Pascack Hills, Dumont, NYU and a host of other high school and college programs. Its biggest order came from the Pascack Hills recreation program, which ordered 75 pieces of clothing and singlets.

"This is what I know best," said Uffleman, who started the company in spring 2011 with an initial outlay of $50,000. "Wrestling is an untapped market, and I understand what wrestlers want."

"And you're working in an area where you already know people and have the contacts," Adam Uffleman said.

It all started with a plastic chin cup, similar to the chin strap on a football helmet, that attaches to a wrestler's headgear and anchors the headgear across the chin rather than with a strap that goes across the neck.

"I saw a lot of kids using these chin cups in tournaments," Dan Uffleman said. "I said I should make this. Then I thought I should make it in colors. Nobody else does that."

Athletes and programs can customize the chin cups in their favorite or school colors, with different colors for the cup, the strap and the buckles.

That devotion to color and bold designs has quickly become a trademark of 5-Kount, whose name comes from the five-second count a referee makes before awarding three back points. …

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