Former RFA baseball standout Cronk finds new passion
For former Rome Free Academy standout Rob Cronk, becoming a professional baseball player was all he thought about while he played for the Black Knights and Smith Post.
But those dreams were derailed due to injury. The 31-year-old took matters into his own hands to make something else out of himself and to find a new passion; giving back to the community.
“When I was 17-years-old and a freshman at the University of Buffalo, I had to have Tommy John (surgery),” said Cronk, who lives in Tampa, Fla. “I then came back and rehabbed, threw a little bit and then transferred down to State College of Florida (formerly known as Manatee). When there, I tore my labrum and needed another surgery. I walked away from the game after that.”
When the 2003 RFA graduat moved down to Florida, he got into the car selling business and worked a short time for Ritz-Carlton.
“Being a kid from upstate New York, you don’t get to see that kind of money or success. I met a lot of successful business people and I quit working for Ritz-Carlton and started working for BMW,” Cronk said.
While working for BMW, Cronk helped open up the Lamborghini store in Sarasota, Fla. “Once the Lambo store was open, I decided I wanted to get out of the automotive business.”
After Cronk quit working in the automotive business, he was unemployed for seven years before he started his own clothing company, Living Easy in 2013.
“I wanted to model my business after my attitude, how I live my life,” Cronk said.
Once Cronk had his business idea, he entered a local competition. Cronk then filed for a trademark in May 2014 and was granted his trademark in July 2016.
“During those two years, it was a struggle,” Cronk said. “I couldn’t really promote or sell my stuff so I struggled. But also during that time, I thought myself everything, from the graphics, to Photoshop. I’m a one-man-show.”
Since being granted his first trademark, Cronk has applied for more and hopes to have a brewery starting up. Cronk has also teamed with former University of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia to bring the message of Living Easy to kids through camps.
“Not only are we trying to focus on athletic skills for these kids, but we’re also trying to teach them life skills,” Cronk said.
“We’re trying to teach them not to be afraid to take risks and not to be afraid of failure, not to be afraid of being different and to be creative.”
Cronk hopes to bring the Living Easy camps to New York in the near future.