Dick’s Sporting Goods isn’t just another big box store.
That’s the way Dan LaBreck looks at it. And that’s why he says people come to Dick’s instead of doing their shopping online and buying from Amazon.
“It’s an experience,” LaBreck, community marketing manager for Dick’s, said Saturday at the opening of Dick’s at Rhode Island Mall. Indeed, the “reopening” was an experience. The first 100 shoppers were given t-shirts when the doors opened at 9 a.m. There were games for the kids inside, a DJ and, on Sunday, the first 100 in the door were given gift cards ranging from $5 to $500.
But that’s not the “experience” LaBreck was talking about. His point is that Dick’s customers can expect to find store associates who are knowledgeable about the equipment and the sports they are interested in pursuing.
“We deliver on that experience, too,” he said.
Dick’s moved from Route 2. The new space of 60,000 square feet is about 20 percent larger and more open, offering “lines of sight” between departments. The store has 30 associates, the same number as the former store.
LaBreck said Dick’s looks to hire associates who know sports. They may play baseball, golf or be runners. But the key, he said, are associates with people skills.
There’s more to Rhode Island Mall than more space. LaBreck pointed out the store is playing a role in the resurrection of the mall, an initiative he notes is dear to Mayor Scott Avedisian and to the community.
Dick’s, which also owns Field and Stream and Golf Galaxy, operates more than 800 stores in 47 states. Dick’s also takes an active role in community sports, teaming up with youth leagues. On Saturday, Warwick PAL Patriots Lacrosse was taking registrations for the season that runs from mid-March through mid-June. Pat Bragg, who manned the table, said he expects the league will number 130 boys and girls from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade.
And while registration can be done online, Bragg was looking for the opportunity to meet face to face with parents and their kids.
As LaBreck would say, it’s all part of the experience that can’t be had online.