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City to get new sports store

Officials say Texas-based business to open this fall near Lowes

By: Kristie Avery - Texarkana Gazette - Published: 03/21/2010

Sports and outdoor enthusiasts soon will have a new place to shop.

Academy Sports + Outdoors is scheduled to set up shop this fall. The company purchased the land at Walton Drive and University Avenue near Lowe’s Home Improvement Center.

“This market gives us another opportunity to expand our footprint in the Southeast, and we believe that customers in Texarkana will embrace our comprehensive sports, outdoors and lifestyle product offerings,” said John Hay, Academy’s vice president of real estate.

The Texas-based company operates 120 stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. They offer products to fit every outdoor personality and lifestyle.

“We welcome them to our retail community,” said Jerry Sparks, Texarkana, Texas, economic development director. “It’s been a pleasure working with their planning team.”

Local developer Richard Reynolds brokered the deal.

According to the company’s Website, Academy got its start in 1938 when founder Max Gochman opened Academy Tire Shop in San Antonio. Years later, Gochman began selling military supplies. He moved his shop to Austin in 1956, operating under Academy Super Surplus and expanded to four stores.

Gochman’s son, Arthur, began developing stores in Houston in 1973. Arthur opened six Academy Super Surplus locations and the business continued to grow.

In the 1980s, sports and outdoor products were added, evolving the surplus outlets into a full-line sporting goods store. By 1990, Academy Sports + Outdoors grew to include 28 locations in Texas.

The company employs more than 13,000 associates in its 120 stores. Academy has experienced a compounded yearly sales growth rate of 17 percent over the last 10 years. It ranks as the highest in sales per store and highest sales per square foot of sporting goods stores in the nation.

Academy’s philosophy is to deliver an unparalleled shopping experience by providing convenience, offering a broad selection of quality products, delivering exceptional customer service and selling the right stuff at everyday low prices.

Academy officials did not release information about the expected size of the store or how many they expected to employ. As the project progresses, more information would be released, they said.

“Academy is looking forward to being an integral part of the community,” Hay said.

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