Business

Sports Authority to Hold Grand Opening in Hilo

August 6, 2012, 11:40 PM HST
* Updated August 7, 11:37 AM
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After years of vacancy, the mauka-end of Prince Kuhio Plaza has a major new tenant.

The Sports Authority, Inc. has opened its sixth Hawaii location in Hilo’s largest shopping mall, filling a 50,000-square-foot space bordering Kanoelehua Avenue that was once home to Woolworth’s.

Seventy employees have been hired to run the operation, nearly all of whom are Big Island residents.

According to manager Jacob Longwith, East Hawaii’s environment and lifestyle played major roles in the decision by the sporting goods retailer to open in Hilo. “It’s a very active community,” Longwith remarked, explaining that a busy local sports scene and abundance of outdoor activities made for a promising location.

Store manager Jacob Longwith encourages customers to try equipment on display. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

Apart from selling sporting apparel and equipment, the store also features a repair shop. Tennis rackets can be strung, paintball air-tanks can be refilled, and bike repairs are available on-site. “We even service skis, if people have them,” mentions Longwith.

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The company also hopes to lure hunting enthusiasts and outdoorsmen. Firearms, ammo, hunting equipment and camping gear are all for sale, but gun-cleaning and servicing are not available at the repair shop.

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To keep an edge on the competition, the store offers price-matching for items appearing in the print ads of other retailers (customers must bring the ad into the store. For details, visit the Sports Authority website).

Customers are encouraged to try the sporting equipment on display, with some exceptions for children, who are not allowed to operate any machinery.

Former San Francisco 49ers lineman Jesse Sapolu will be at the store’s grand opening Saturday.

The retailer will be holding a grand opening on Saturday. Former San Francisco 49ers lineman Jesse Sapolu will be on hand at 1 p.m. to sign autographs, and face-painting for children will be available. The first customers through the door at opening will receive a free gift.

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Bulk uniform orders are available for sports teams. Interested parties can contact store liaison Eric Walker, at 959-8311.

Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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