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Sunset Park resident gives back by starting his own business

Strong ties, loyalty and new ventures were the themes on Friday, September 20 at the Opportunities for Better Tomorrow (OBT) in Sunset Park where entrepreneur Angel Lopez unveiled his new company “Novato Sports Apparel.” Lopez, a Port Authority police officer who attended OBT in 1996, was joined by wife and Chief Operating Officer for the company Elizabeth, Executive Director of OBT Randy Peers and current students during the ceremony.

“I want to thank God and my parents for the creating the foundation of what I now have. Unfortunately my parents are sick so they couldn’t be here today,” an emotional Lopez said during a touching display of pauses, hugs and tears.

OBT, founded in 1983, specializes in integrating GED classes for young adults who are not working or attending school. Through this program, these individuals can get back on track both academically and with career ambitions.

Lopez made it clear throughout the conference that despite his personal success over the years, he’s never forgotten the positive influence which successful training program had on him. “OBT is great. They got me started. I learned my training here. We did basic business training, clerical computer, public speaking.” Those lessons led him to obtain a position as a clerk in the DA’s office, and eventually a detective investigator.

Since Lopez credits much of his success to OBT, he wants the program involved in his promising business. “He never forgot where he came from,” stated Peers. “He has decided to partner with us and to help us benefit from some of his success by providing one percent of his proceeds from sales of his new venture back to the program so that we can continue our good work of helping young adults to progress in life.”

As for the new company, Lopez promises that his line will include a level of quality and care that will allow it to stand out from the competition, thanks to a full dye supplementation practice. “With that, we can do any design that we come up with,” he explained.

Novato’s first major client, the not-for profit youth sports organization, the Staten Island Musketeers Basketball Club, is proud to work with Lopez. “I told Angel that he’s come up with a nice design, great uniforms so we’re on board and I’m proud to be standing next to him,“ said Israel Detres, the group’s director.

Figuring out what to name the company was another process. Novato means rookie in Spanish, so Elizabeth Lopez decided it was a great fit. “New. Rookie. That’s what he is in this field. And hopefully he’ll be around for a long time,” she explained.

The future looks bright for Novato. In addition to the Musketeers, the company includes among its clients the Brooklyn Blackout ABA Basketball team, local high school teams throughout the city, as well as various sports clubs and leagues, with others in negotiation.

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