The Schmude family is very famous among local sporting associations, with just about every sibling involved with sport in some way. The eldest son Paul is the proprietor of Sportspower and has just won an Armidale Business of the Year Award.
> Where do you fit in the famous local Schmude family?
I am the eldest of four boys; Dave, Damien and Marty are my younger brothers. We have quite a large family – especially since Mum and Dad are only children. Mum and Dad (Virginia and Karl Schmude) moved to Armidale from Sydney in October 1970, with Dad appointed to a position in the University of New England Library. He later became University Librarian and was there until a few years ago (sixteen years as Librarian – thirty years with the Library in total).
Mum retired this year from O’Connor Catholic College, after being there for twenty years. Dave is head of Sport UNE, Damien works as a plumber with Lindsay Snell Plumbing, and Marty is a maths lecturer at the University of New England.
I went to St Mary’s (Primary School), then on to O’Connor Catholic High School (as it was known back then), then off to Joey’s (St Joseph’s College – Hunters Hill, Sydney) for my last 2 years of high school.
I loved sport from an early age; as Mum said to Dad when I was born: “You have your cricketer”.
My time at Joey’s was where my passion for sport really started to take off. I was fortunate enough to play in the 1st XI in cricket and soccer for the two years I was there. Our cricket side was the first Joey’s side to remain undefeated, since the 1947 side, at the school. We then became GPS, State and National Cricket Schools Champions in 1991. I made the GPS and Combined Independent Schools (CIS) sides in 1990 and 1991 in soccer.
If you ever ask Mum what my time at Joey’s was like, she always answers that “It was the most expensive sports camp we could have sent Paul to”. I didn’t do too badly at school, but I just loved my sport, so I would concentrate more on that than my studies.
Sport after school consisted of rugby, cricket, tennis, and basketball. I was fortunate enough to play rugby with a lot of great players, namely Ian and Dave Tonkin, Dave Munday, Cozie Roff and Mark Creagan – just to name a few. Rugby was a big part of my life; the rugby community of Armidale has a great network, and a lot of my closest friends have come from this.
I was very keen on cricket when I finished at Joey’s and played with Hillgrove (first grade) and then changed clubs and played with the East’s C.C. People like Lachlan Fulloon and Matt Foster were always a lot of fun to play with, and some of my best memories come from these days.
These days I play hockey (with Ex-Services Checkmates 1st grade) and try to play golf when I can.
Sport is always going to be a big part of my life, and I can never ever see this changing. I love seeing kids coming into our store and wanting to play with all the equipment and seeing their eyes light up when they buy something.
> How long have you owned Sportspower?
My wife (Veronica) and I have owned the store since July 2005, so three and a half years. I have been working with Sportspower in Armidale for 18 years this January (2009). David Robins (previous owner) gave me my start with the business. If it was not for Dave I would not be in the industry and enjoying everything about it, so thanks to Dave.
I really love working in the store. I enjoy the interaction with my customers and my suppliers.
> How do you feel about your recent award?
We just won ‘Best Retail Business 2008’ here in Armidale. It is really great to receive these awards. I think it means you are doing something right; I greatly appreciate the Chamber of Commerce for recognising community effort in this way.
> Tell us about your staff?
My staff is as follows:
Manager: Michael Clarke – Mike is one of my best mates, and he is great for the store. He has been in retail for over 20 years, and is a real asset for our business. You cannot buy experience. He knows what the customers’ needs and wants are; he also has a very caring nature towards our customers, and this shows in his dealings with them.
Rochelle Joyce – she is like a little sister to me. Rochelle has been with Sportspower for over 5 years. She worked with us when I was with David Robins. Rochelle has done a lot for the sporting community of Armidale. She is on the Sports Council and does a great job finding funding for sporting clubs of Armidale. She is also a life member of the Armidale District Netball Association, and this shows her dedication to the sport. She is a great coach, being head coach of the NIAS program, and is a great mum (daughter Olivia).
Patrick (Gudge) Strong – Patrick is our newest staff member. He has a great outlook on life. He plays fullback for the Armidale Blues RUFC first grade side, is a speedy touch player and has a fine sense of humour. He will come out with the funniest sayings, and he makes the work environment very enjoyable to be in.
Sam Brown – Sam has been with us for 2 years and has just completed his HSC. He plays cricket and loves martial arts.
> Is it true that your family is all sports mad?
All of our families are sports mad. We love everything. All of our wives are into sport as well – netball and hockey, and they all love watching rugby union.
> We hear that congratulations are in order. Tell us about your latest family member?
We had a healthy baby boy on the 11 November 2008. His name is Luke William Schmude. It is funny when you become a family how things change. Having a child really makes you appreciate family life a lot more; I just want to be at home as much as possible and spend time with Veronica and Luke. He is the joy of our lives.
> Where does a local sport enthusiast hang out after work?
I am usually found on the sidelines of the rugby fields, at the cricket (sledging my mates when I can) or at the hockey. But mostly I am at home (I know this sounds boring). I just enjoy being with my family.
> Plans for the future?
To continue supporting the Armidale community with the very best service and sporting equipment.
> Thank you Paul.