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Making selling easy

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    Chad Bergantz displays items that he sells to help teams raise funds for travel.

Youth sports are year-round. So is fundraising.

Whether it’s for travel, uniforms or equipment, trying to raise money is always in season.

Someone is always at the door, in the office lunchroom, outside the grocery store. Team Please Buy Me wears many uniforms, but it’s always the same circle of friends, neighbors and co-workers being hit up to purchase the same products.

How much frozen cookie dough or Portuguese sausage is in your freezer? How many boxes of cookies-gone-stale in the cupboard?

And how many tickets — usually expired — on the refrigerator door?

Shake your head because there’s got to be a better way.

There apparently is.

The Ultimate Fundraiser bills itself as a one-stop A-to-Z shop for all things fundraising. No up-front costs, no minimum sales requirements and no penalties or fees for unsold and returned items.

Those tried-and-true products are still available: the local snacks, lei, Hawaiian food, shortbread cookies. But the method is unlike anything that’s been done in Hawaii before.

"I want to revolutionize the way fundraising is done here," said Chad Bergantz, founder of TUF. "I grew up here, played every sport out there and remember fundraising for them all, as well as for church and school.

"I know how hard it is, how really expensive it is to play sports. You have to travel to the mainland for tournaments. I was very lucky that my family and friends supported all my fundraising. Now I’m old enough to start paying it back."

Bergantz, 28, was born and raised in Hawaii. The family moved to Florida after he graduated from Kahala Elementary; he returned after his father moved back to Oahu in 2011.

The business is growing. It has been successful. The problem is its believability.

"I’ve had people tell me they would do it but don’t because it’s seems too good to be true," Bergantz said. "I understand that, but I’ve worked really hard for over three years making it easy, making it too good to be true. But it is true.

"We want to take the headaches out of fundraising for parents, coaches, kids. It’s about paying it forward."

TUF provides all the materials at no charge, from banners and signs to order forms and catalogs. Staff members do group presentations, help customize the fundraiser, pick up the order forms, and handle all monies, accounting and distribution.

"We give organizations every tool possible to be successful because their success is our success," Bergantz said. "We buy in bulk to keep the costs below store prices, sort of like being the Costco of fundraising.

"We all know people will buy things just to help out. But we’ve researched the products that people actually want. One of our slogans is, ‘Shop for your family, raise money at the same time.’ We want people to be happy, save money and time, make money and have pride in selling something worthwhile."

The fundraising program is not limited to teams; it’s available for organizations, weddings, funerals, family reunions and — unfortunately becoming more popular — medical expenses.

"We’ll help non-profits, for-profits, families, anyone for any reason," he said. "If they follow our guidelines, they’ll be successful."

Nakita Nieves is using TUF to raise funds for Waianae High’s Junior ROTC program.

"Our goal is $6,000 and we think it’s realistic and reachable," said Nieves, a 2005 Waianae graduate. It’s been pretty easy, the kids aren’t carrying around things, and we’ve had quick order responses from our Facebook page.

"We liked that you didn’t have to give money up front. It doesn’t hurt to try something different and I’d recommend it."

Nieves said she liked TUF’s prize incentive program, which offers school supplies and music and sports equipment. Depending on the program chosen, other prizes include TVs, gaming consoles, shopping sprees and trips.

Fundraising isn’t limited to selling items. TUF also will organize what are called "big profit events" such as bowling tournaments, wine tastings, casino nights and golf tournaments.

In December, there was a 12-hour concert with 20 bands at Hawaiian Brian’s renovated showroom Crossroads.

The only thing a client has to do is sell tickets. TUF finds an appropriate location, provides food, decorations and music, and helps with silent auction items.

"We do all the work and all we ask is that you provide volunteers to help work the day of the event," Bergantz said.

The company is now venturing into online fundraising sales and will be able to have groups sell the same items to friends on the mainland as they sell in Hawaii for a small shipping fee.

Call 888-5692 or go to for more information.

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