Deep Ellum is known for its bars, restaurants and music venues, but locals may start hearing about a high-profile baseball shop that just opened in the Dallas neighborhood.
Warstic is a custom bat design and manufacturing company founded by Lake Highlands native Ben Jenkins, who previously played college and minor league ball. Since 2011, Warstic has sold wooden and metal bats online, but last year, Jenkins landed a building at 2900 Main St. as the company's first brick and mortar location.
Warstic is a well known brand among athletes, but there's another reason North Texans might take notice. The shop is co-owned by rock musician Jack White and Los Angeles Angels second baseman and former Texas Rangers player Ian Kinsler.
Warstic had a soft opening in early April to give visitors to the Deep Ellum Arts Festival a sneak peek at what's to come. Right now, patrons can peruse a temporary showroom and demo center, which inhabits just a fraction of the 7,000-square-foot building.
There, they'll find several walls covered in bats of varying sizes, weights, shapes, colors and materials, plus a small batting cage where they can practice their swing.
"For a player to figure out what they swing, it's kind of a process," Jenkins says. One easy way to get started is by picking out a bat and hitting from a tee, like the one set up in Warstic's showroom.
Players "are just trying to figure out what they swing from a bat model perspective. Then we take them through the fun part: designing the stain styles and colors," he says. "Functionality first, design second."
Long-term plans for the space include building out the full retail shop, so players will be able to make an appointment to be custom fitted for a bat and to test out the various sizes and weights in a full-length batting cage, Jenkins says. Warstic will also sell batting gloves, apparel and possibly helmets.
Don't play baseball?
You'll still be able to step up to a plate once Jenkins builds a rooftop restaurant and bar that overlooks the batting cage. There's also talk of hosting a lecture series with industry leaders at the shop and turning the basement into a private club/speakeasy for Warstic's high-profile clients.
The shop and its extra amenities are expected to be completed by fall 2018, Jenkins says.
For now, Warstic is open limited hours (see below), but it may be a good place to spot celebrities.
Kinsler visited recently while the Angels were town to play the Rangers. And when White comes to Dallas for two concerts at the Bomb Factory on April 27 and 29, he'll be there for an exclusive bat release.
Warstic designed 50 limited edition Jack White Artist Series maple bats, which are matte black with royal blue trim to match the musician's latest album artwork. White designed the model (called WS3) complete with a vintage acorn-shaped knob on the handle. It's the style he uses at bat, Jenkins says. (Fun fact: White bats lefty.)
If White's involvement comes as a surprise, consider that he's a longtime baseball fan. He's been spotted at games and he's also thrown the first pitch in Detroit, his hometown. According to Esquire, White even has his own baseball card.
Details of White's custom-designed bat — such as price and how to purchase one — are still in the works, but Jenkins says buyers will be able to come to Warstic on April 28 to pick up their gear from White. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Native Wellness Institute and the Well for Culture program, both of which support the health and wellness of Native American youth.
There's another local opportunity to catch White in action when employees from the Warstic play staffers from popular Dallas radio station The Ticket during a sandlot game at Reverchon Park in Dallas. First pitch is Saturday, April 28 at 6 p.m. and the game is free to attend.
Warstic is currently open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 3-7 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.