Academy Sports + Outdoors is now open in Easley, and the store selected some special young people to be their very first shoppers.
The Easley store, the chain’s 150th location, officially opens to the public at 8am this morning, but area children got a sneak peek at the store yesterday afternoon, after the store’s officially ribbon-cutting.
Academy Sports officials gave 30 children from the Pickens County YMCA $100 gift cards which they used for their very own shopping sprees.
The children were paired with Academy Sports employees, who helped them shop. The kids explored the entire store, shopping for shoes, clothes, toys, sports equipment, bikes and more.
Store Director Amy Bell and communications representative Eric Herrera took Patch on a tour of the store before the ribbon cutting and shopping spree.
“Every store we open, we partner with a youth organization to come out,” Herrera said. “They’re going to be our first customers. They can shop for whatever they want. To see the smiles on the kids’ face, it makes the whole event worth it. And it’s fun practice for the associates to do some shopping, too.”
The Easley location aims to be a one-stop shop for all its customers’ sports and outdoors equipment needs.
“We’re more than just a sporting goods store,” Bell said. “You’ve got your apparel and your footwear. We’ve got a dog aisle, your camping, we’ve got your hunting and your fishing. It’s a little more typical sporting goods store.”
Like to golf? The store has you covered.
“Say you’re looking at golf – you’re going to get everything you need – head to toe, gear and apparel,” Herrera said. “You can come in and buy a set of golf clubs for $100, if you’re looking to get started, or you can go all the way to the high-end sets.”
“We have a set for everyone,” Bell said.
The store’s inventory in all areas ranges from the general to the specialized. For example, the fitness gear section of the new store not only carries treadmills, weights, exercise bikes and pedometers, but heart rate monitors, protein supplements, iPod and phone accessories, UFC and boxing products and gear.
“Yes, we have a big selection here, but what really sets us apart is the everyday low price,” Herrera said. “You know when you’re coming in, you’re going to find that lowest price that you can find any day of the week - no coupons needed. It just works well for the customer – anything that they’re going to shop here for is going to be at the lowest prices that we have.”
“We typically keep an everyday low price for our customers,” Bell agreed. “We don’t have to have these prices drop one week, and they’re up the next week, and drop the next week (after that.)”
Academy Sports + Outdoors has gear, accessories and apparel for pretty much any sport you can name, from the dominant sports like football and baseball to growing sports such as lacrosse, Bell said.
The toys offered at the store are designed to get kids up on their feet and outside.
“They’re actives, toys that kids can get out and run around and play with,” Herrera said. “They’re not stationary.”
The shoe department offers “every type of shoe that you could possibly want,” Bell said.
“We have dancing shoes, jazz and ballet, and then all of your sports – soccer, football, volleyball, track, we have cheerleading shoes,” she said. “Of course we have training, walking, running, hiking. We have work boots, aqua shoes, flip flops, winter boots. We have infant shoes. Every brand of shoe as well- Nike, Under Armor, Adidas. Most people come to Academy not realizing we have shoes.”
Academy offers men’s and women’s clothing as well as hunting and fishing gear – including live bait.
“We have probably the largest selection of guns around, handguns and long guns as well,” Bell said. “We have a highly-trained staff that can talk to you about them. We have a lot of ammo. We have a scope stocks – you can actually pick them up and look through them to check them out, they’re not just in a box.”
“Camo is big in this area,” she said. “We have a lot of camo – camo boots, camo chairs, camo coolers. We have anything you want camo. Easley’s a huge hunting area.”
Like to camp or cook out? Academy offers cast iron cookware, spices, appliances like food processors and even grills and propane.
“Grilling’s big here,” Bell said. “Sometimes people come in and they don’t want to buy a grill in a box and take it home and assemble it. We assemble and display one of all of our grills. If you’re getting ready for a game or you’re having people over tonight, you can come here and get one already assembled and take it out. We don’t charge any extra for that.”
“This is a perfect example of coming here and getting everything you need,” Herrera said.
The store not only sells coolers, but replacement parts for them.
Academy doesn’t just offer boating accessories – but the boats themselves from johnboats to kayaks.
Academy has Clemson and Carolina apparel and tailgating gear, as well as local high school apparel.
“We have Easley, Powdersville and Pickens,” Bell said. “We have T-shirts, long sleeved shirts, jogging pants.”
The store’s employees are knowledgable about its entire product line. The Easley location employs 125 people. The store, located at Easley Town Center is open from 8am – 10pm Monday through Saturday and from 9am to 8pm on Sundays.
“The community seems really happy that we’re here,” Bell said.