The Goose girls: Local sandwich shop forms relationship with Lehigh student athletes

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Lehigh softball players Rachel Timberman, bottom middle, and Ashley Quidolit Rabago, right, pose with fellow Goose employee David Troyan, left, and owner Tony Silvoy. Timberman and Rabago are two of the student-athletes that work at the local sandwich shop. (Courtesy Rachel Timberman)

Student athletes at Lehigh have been cashing in on their skills at local South Bethlehem sandwich hot-spot, “The Goose.”

The Goose, short for The Goosemen, is known for both its sandwiches and friendly cadence, which are prepared with generous amounts of ingredients often times by student athletes.

While providing for the entire Bethlehem community, The Goose has been particularly vital for athletic teams at Lehigh before and after their competitions.

Tony Silvoy, the owner of The Goose and a friend to all who walk in his shop, said the shop has had a relationship with Lehigh athletics from the get-go in the early 1980s. Ever since, student athletes have been repaying The Goose through both consumption and labor.

One student athlete doing so is sophomore Meagan Eripret, a member of the women’s basketball team and an Allentown native. Because of her mother’s former position as the assistant coach of the Lehigh women’s basketball team, Eripret has been affiliated with Lehigh and The Goose since her childhood.

Eripret recalls experiencing the work ethic of The Goose from an early age. She began helping out with small things such as bagging lunches, but as she got older, she assumed more responsibility.

Now, Eripret is working at The Goose and taking real orders.

“It’s an exciting place to be,” Eripret said. “It’s a lot more stressful to be behind the counter than it is to be waiting in line.”

With over 50 sandwich options, most of which are listed on a secret menu available both in print at the store and online, first-time visitors might have trouble deciding which to choose. But it is not nearly as hard to order for the first time as it is to work your first shift at The Goose.

At The Goose, workers receive no prior training and instead operate on a “learn-as-you-go” basis.

“It’s like baptism by fire,” Eripret said. “So you just have to get used to how everything works.”

Junior softball player Rachel Timberman, recalls her first day on the job being hectic, despite it being a “slow” day. Just as a customer would after receiving their sandwich, Timberman said that to learn at The Goose she literally just dove in.

Although the complexity of orders along with the intensity of demand might come across as an overwhelming dynamic, Timberman pointed at Silvoy’s vocal style of operation as being her guidance.

“He just tells you, ‘this is what needs to be done,’ and you do it,” Timberman said. “If you don’t do it, he gets a little upset, as every boss would.”

Timberman said working at The Goose has been fun, regardless of the pressure that might arise. In fact Timberman said she does well under such conditions and believes her athletic career might be the foundation for the abilities she’s demonstrated there.

“You only get one or two plays a game,” Timberman said. “So that pressure of always being prepared (is) what you could relate to working at The Goose.”

Silvoy stands behind Timberman’s claim, and credits the athletics program for finding both top-tier athletes and people, year after year.

“I don’t know where (they) find ‘em or how (they) find ‘em,” Silvoy said. “But they’re always bringing in the right personnel.”

While the family atmosphere at The Goose certainly has to do with Silvoy’s voiced enthusiasm, he said he can’t take credit for everything that happens there.

“The enthusiasm and structure of the organization is based on everyone that’s here,” Silvoy said. “I can only make so many sandwiches, it’s the people that surround me that make me look good. Without them, I am nothing.”

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