Tennis Industry magazine


2008 Chain Retailer/Mass Merchant of the Year: Sport Chalet

By Mitch Rustad

With some 4,300 employees in more than 50 full-service locations throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, and with more than 50 services for the serious sports enthusiast (kayaking lessons, anyone?), can a mass-merchant like Sport Chalet actually satisfy a savvy tennis customer? Hey, just because you offer backpacking, canyoneering and kayaking instruction, not to mention custom golf-club fitting and snowboard and ski rental and repair, doesn’t mean you can’t be a tennis expert.

Sport Chalet

“Having been in store as a consumer and now as a brand rep, inasmuch as they are a mass merchant, on the front end they feel like a specialist,” says Jeffery Adams, national sales manager of racquets for Wilson. “That is the definition of success for Sport Chalet, and that is what makes them so good.”

A dynamic staff on the sales floor, immaculate presentation and a comprehensive product selection, combined with a glowing reputation around the industry, have made Sport Chalet our 2008 Chain Retailer/Mass Merchant of the Year. (Sport Chalet also claimed this honor in 2003.)

“They really understand their customer and they’re very disciplined, so they buy efficiently and put inventory on their walls that will be successful,” which enhances profits and leads to fewer sales and markdowns, adds Adams.

Another factor that makes Sport Chalet such an important large retailer for manufacturers is its commitment to showcasing an entire line of products — including the latest technology.

“Sport Chalet really gets the high-end business and has a great scope of everything,” says Head’s Greg Mason. “Everybody else focuses on the $60 to $100 range, but Sport Chalet is an exception that sells high-end performance racquets and looks at itself as a specialty shop.”

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About the Author

Mitch Rustad has been a long-time freelance writer based in New York City.



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