Central Alberta parents struggling to keep growing feet, hands and bodies in sports equipment could get a financial reprieve this spring.
Chris and Kathy Flaman-Haley plan to open a Play It Again Sports store in Red Deer in March or April. To be located at 4930 53rd Ave., the former site of Beachcomber Hot Tubs, it will join a network of approximately 400 Play It Again Sports stores selling new and used sporting goods.
“I’ll be carrying all of the primary sports, including lacrosse, soccer, hockey, a full complement of fitness equipment, football, baseball, basketball, tennis — you name it,” said Chris Flaman-Haley.
Much of this will be used equipment worn by youngsters who have moved up to bigger sizes — a transition the father of three children, aged 13 to 17, is quite familiar with.
He relied on Allsports Replay, a similar store in Red Deer that closed a year ago after operating for 25 years in Red Deer.
“When Allsports Replay closed their doors, I thought, ‘Somebody needs to come in here and provide that service again to the community.’
“I never thought for a moment that it was going to be me.”
But he liked the Play It Again Sports model, and believed the city was a good location for a franchise.
“Red Deer is a young and vibrant community; there are a lot of young people in the community with growing families. It’s also a very active community, with all the facilities we have locally.”
Flaman-Haley expects to draw customers from a trading area with more than 200,000 people. Operating as Play It Again Sports, he said, should give him marketing and retail expertise, and provide him with the benefits of buying power.
“They’re the largest sporting goods retail chain, by number of stores, in North America.
“I’m going to be carrying current, top-of-the-line new (equipment).”
But used equipment will be a big part of his business, said Flaman-Haley. He’s currently accumulating “gently used sporting goods.”
“I’ve already got about a third of what I will need in order to open,” he said, with special buying days planned for the new year.
Some higher-priced goods, like treadmills or elliptical machines, might be sold on a consignment basis, he said.
Flaman-Haley also has the Red Deer rights to Fresh Gear, a process that uses ozone to destroy bacteria in sports and other equipment.
“Every item that comes into my store, that’s used, will have undergone the Fresh Gear certification process,” he said, adding that the equipment will also be available to for the cleaning of customers’ own equipment.
Flaman-Haley, who was born in Red Deer and has lived here most of his life, is no stranger to the sports retail industry. He owned a Nevada Bob’s Golf shop in Red Deer in the mid-1990s, and describes himself as a lifelong “sports person.”
Additional information about Play It Again Sports can be found at http://playitagainsportsreddeer.com.