No offence to big Winnipeg sports stores but…you’re really not that big. River City Sports on Kenaston is very nice but it just 17,000 square feet. Sport Check at Polo Park is really big but it is only 20,000 square feet. Likewise Pro Hockey Life on St. James is also 20,000 square feet.
In 1989, Scheels built what was the flagship of their sports stores on south Columbia Road and showed Winnipeg what a big sports store looks like. It was 35,000 square feet. No one had seen anything like it before and over the years it has attracted Winnipeg shopper time and time again. At one time this was the flagship store for the company.
As reported here earlier, the lease on the old location for Scheel’s expired at the end of 2013 and the sports retailer is moving into the old Target store in Columbia Mall. It has been 14 years of empty space at Columbia where the old store was as it closed in 2001. It has been a bit of a black eye for the mall along with a few other things closed on that side of the mall such as the movie theatre.
That side of the mall also featured a close four screen movie theatre for a number of years. That space was demolished and now an Olive Garden stands in its place.
On June 28 of this year, the very long wait to fill the old Target space at Columbia Mall comes to an end. Scheel’s will open a 120,000 square foot super store and employ over 200 people, double the amount of the former location. As far as size goes, it is very large but not as big as the Fargo store which is 200,000 square feet and also houses the 60,000 square foot headquarters.
Scheels was founded in 1902 and is a privately help, employee owned company. It is a regional powerhouse effectively keeping some other sports stores like Dick’s at bay. There are over 5000 employees. Many of the stores being built by the company are now coming in at 220,000 square feet with one monster store in Sparks, Nevada being 295,000 square feet. The Nevada location is now the largest sports store in the world.
A Scheel’s store is known for special attractions. Some of them have a Ferris Wheel and aquariums. The Grand Forks store will feature a nostalgia shooting gallery, try before you buy archery range, various sports simulators. The store will also have a deli and fudge food service and Starbucks coffee. While the store will be missing some of the features of the Fargo store, it will be both a huge addition to Scheel’s in Grand Forks and a major attraction in Columbia Mall.
Expect Canadians to embrace the store when it opens.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations