Sporting goods stores, like most stores, have had to change their business models due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some stores, this has proved challenging.
Brad Haug, the owner of Black’s Sporting Goods in Godfrey, Illinois, said the biggest issue sporting goods stores have had to deal with is the lack of local team sports.
“We are a team sporting goods store, so this has all been pretty devastating,” Haug said. “We had no retail customers for two and a half months. A lot of little league teams and park organizations have canceled or delayed all the way through the summer. In Illinois, no youth sports are playing, but in Missouri, they’ve somewhat opened up. So, we started to see some traffic from athletes coming across the river.”
Missouri’s different guidelines regarding COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders have given some businesses different opportunities. Dave Mallory, owner of Mallory Sports in Wood River, Illinois, said Missouri has been a definite avenue of business for him lately, due to the fact that Missouri’s parks reopened before Illinois’.
“It's all kind of drastic. They stopped all the leagues. We missed the biggest sports,” Mallory said. “When we purchase our stuff from our suppliers over the summer, we have to pay for it, but it hurts us right now because no one is buying it. There are some people coming over the river from Missouri, and people here are going across the river to play. But, otherwise, there's not much.”
In order to adapt to the pandemic, The Cyclery in Edwardsville had to use curbside service. David Parks, store manager of The Cyclery, said this has not had a negative impact, and sales have increased with the pandemic.
”This time of year, we typically have about 50 repairs to do on bikes. We peaked over 100 repairs about a week ago,” Parks said. “Really, once the pandemic stuck everyone inside, there was a huge uptick with everyone wanting a bike or shoes for running or something from us. Everyone wants free weights, or ellipticals or some personal equipment. All aspects of what we do here are very, very busy.”
Parks said they have continued retail business on a smaller scale.
“We want to keep employees as safe as possible, as well as customers, so everything was curbside,” Parks said. “Anything from bikes to running shoes to treadmills, we will take them outside. Last Monday, we started escorting customers in, so that way we know what they touch so we can be safe. We are definitely limiting occupancy. Employees are required to wear a mask unless they have doctors’ notes about a respiratory situation.”
Not all stores have seen an increase in sales, like The Cyclery. Haug said Black’s Sporting Goods had some serious trouble in light of the pandemic, but the village of Godfrey introduced a solution to help small businesses like his.
“The village of Godfrey has put together this small business program where people can buy discounted vouchers to use in small businesses in Godfrey. You can buy a $20 gift certificate for $10, and the village of Godfrey matches it, and it's great for small businesses,” Haug said “It's also great for the community. There are about 30 small businesses in Godfrey that have participated. Godfrey has already committed $100,000 to it. And, in one week, we got about 100 [certificates] here. It’s a great program from the local government.”
For more information, contact Black’s Sporting Goods at 466-7333, Mallory Sports at 259-4236 or The Cyclery at 468-1128.