Inside of the 62,000-square-foot building along West Highway 50 in O’Fallon, there are aisles of fishing gear, firearms, basketballs, shoes, cleats and camping gear, among other things.
Employees of the newest location of Academy Sports and Outdoors have put on the final touches in preparation of opening to the public on Friday.
This is Academy Sports first store in Illinois. The Texas-based sports, outdoor, and recreation lifestyle chain has other 225 locations in 15 states including Missouri, Florida, Arkansas, and both Carolinas.
“We’re always looking to expand our company into new markets, finding customer bases that fit what our company does,” said Shane Carlisle, senior communications coordinator for Academy. “We thought the O’Fallon community was a great fit; we’re happy to be part of the community here.”
To celebrate the opening, the store, which has about 100 employees, planned on Thursday afternoon to give 30 youngsters from the Scott Air Force Base Youth Center $100 to shop for team sports equipment, footwear, bikes, apparel and fishing gear in the new business.
The retailer also sells hunting, camping equipment and gear along with sports and leisure products, footwear, apparel, patio sets and barbecue grills, among other things.
Rodney Hall, the store director, said the chain differs from other sporting good stores as it offers both team sports equipment and outdoor recreation equipment.
“We (have) an everyday low price structure,” Hall said. “It’s very family oriented.”
The store also offers casual apparel that is not necessarily sports or athletic related. They have some name brand items and private labels.
“(It’s) comfortable casual, something you could wear every day,” Hall said.
The store even has bicycles, toys, dart boards and table tennis equipment.
Opening in mid-November allows the store to cater to holiday shoppers as well.
“It’s a great time of year to open for us, because there’s people already out shopping; they’re looking for new items, new gift items. We’re excited about,” Hall said. “They’re already out shopping, they say ‘Hey, let’s go to the new store and take a look at this.’ Once they get in here, we’ll have customers for life. We’re going to give them great customer service, great prices, great value, great product.”
- Academy Sports and Outdoor at 1574 W. Highway 50 in O’Fallon opens 8:30 a.m. Friday.
- The first 150 customers in line who show they are a fan of one of Academy’s social media sites will receive a mystery gift card valued between $20 and $500.
- The store also is planning special promotions during its first weekend, including an appearance by Matt Adams of the St. Louis Cardinals, who is scheduled to sign autographs from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday.
- Academy Sports also plans to give away hot dogs to the first 500 customers on Sunday.