Partnerships are formed around great people with a common goal of contributing to the community. For NITCO, sponsoring the Valparaiso University’s mens' basketball game on Thursday night was a no-brainer. Connecting a local company to the area’s university brought together both familiar and new faces to a reception before the game.
“I’ve been involved with Valparaiso University for a long time, having produced basketball games in my television career,” said Senior Vice President Thomas E. Carroll. “It all started there. NITCO has become a sponsor this year because we are all about community, and all about the people we do business with.”
Check out photos from NITCO night and the game here.
Because NITCO primarily serves the area VU draws many students from, including Valparaiso, Hebron, Demotte, Porter county, and south Lake county, Carroll said “it really makes sense” to be Valparaiso University’s partner.
“People talk to me about our partnership all the time,” Carroll continued. “People say they are thrilled that we are involved with VU basketball. They look forward to coming to the games, and they are also excited about what the team is doing this year. I think there’s a chance they could win the Horizon League Championship, and NITCO wants to be right there with them.”
NITCO invited employees, customers, and other important members of the community to enjoy food and to catch up with friends before VU took on Cleveland State.
Carroll’s longtime friend Richard Blythe started working with his father at Blythe’s Sport Shop after it opened in 1952. He has since passed the store on to his two sons. As a previous owner of a local store, community has always been an important aspect of Blythe’s life.
“Tom invited me tonight, and I was able to learn about his business,” said Blythe. “I have always been a supporter of VU. We used to sell VU gear at the store. By coming out tonight, I get to associate with the well-known people of the community, and it is great.”
“Valparaiso University is community-based and very much a part of northwest Indiana, and NITCO is very much a local company and also a part of northwest Indiana, like we are,” said Athletic Director Mark LaBarbera. “It is always exciting for us when we can partner with other community members. NITCO invites other community members to our games and it is just a win-win for everybody.”
Minutes before tip-off, NITCO president Tom Long stepped onto the court to present the game ball.
“This is just another way for us to show our support for locals,” said Long. “We live here. We provide service here. Our philosophy is to give back to the community. To be able to have all of our guests come here to mingle and talk is great. It is creating our own little community.”