Slam dunk: ‘different concept’ wins sporting goods game

'There isn't anybody doing what we're doing,' Ed Stack told me in 1994.
A record player
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In a box in my basement are folders containing clips of the hundreds of stories I wrote during seven-plus years as a business reporter for the York Daily Record.

I recently went through the clips as research for another upcoming blog post. But one story in particular led me here.

“Newcomer to toss York his pitch,” read the headline (which I did not write) on Dec. 9, 1993. The subhead: “A New York sporting goods retailer plans to fill the former Triangle store off Route 30.”

I had spoken with Ed Stack about his family’s business, which I explained had started 40 years earlier and was named for Stack’s father. The company had 12 stores in New York, Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania, with plans to add five more in early 1994.

Among those five was the one slated for Route 30 in West Manchester Township, York County, in an expanded former Triangle Building Centers store.

In my lead, I said Stack “sounds pretty confident when he talks about his family’s business.”

“It’s a different concept altogether,” he told me. “There isn’t anybody doing what we’re doing.”

The store was to carry 25,000 different sporting goods, but I noted it “could have appeal for another reason.”

“I think that our pricing will be very acceptable to the people in York,” Stack said.

But I spoke with one doubter: the owner of Stevens Sport Shop in downtown York, which dubbed itself “York’s most complete sports store.”

“There’s a lot of shoppers who are getting tired of these mass guys,” Scott Stevens said.

Stevens indicated that he was unfamiliar with Stack’s company, but he questioned how it could do enough business to compensate for its overhead costs.

Another Stevens quote concluded my story:

“I can’t see down the road where these guys can really do it,” he said.

But it was Stevens Sport Shop that didn’t make it, closing sometime in the 1990s.

As for the business named for Stack’s father, Richard, it persevered.

Today it is a public company based in Pittsburgh, its shares trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Net sales for the third quarter ended Oct. 31 increased 7.6 percent, to approximately $1.6 billion.

That store in York County is still open. As of Oct. 31, it was among more than 645 in 47 states operated by Stack’s company.

You’ve probably been a customer of the largest sporting goods retailer in the United States, as I was when I bought the basketball hoop shown at the top of this page.

At the very least you’ve heard of the company: Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Dick's Sporting Goods, Colonial Commons in Harrisburg

Dick’s Sporting Goods, Carlisle Pike in Mechanicsburg

 

 

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