A new-to-market sporting goods retailer has planted its flag in a former Short Pump toy store.
Academy Sports + Outdoors opened this week at 11861 W. Broad St. in The Corner at Short Pump shopping center.
It’s the first location in the Old Dominion for the Texas-based chain, which has a footprint of more than 260 stores in 17 states. Its nearly 60,000-square-foot space in Short Pump was once occupied by a Toys ‘R’ Us-Babies ‘R’ Us combo store until a bankruptcy-related closure in 2018.
The store carries a wide range of clothing, shoes, equipment and gear for sports and outdoor activities like fishing and camping.
Though open for just a few days, Short Pump store manager Charles Iniguez said Thursday he had seen strong foot traffic so far.
“It’s been a steady increase every day since we’ve been open, which is good for us,” Iniguez said. “Customers are coming in. They’re seeing what we have to offer and the value we have. They’re telling their friends, families and neighbors.”
The store planned a grand opening celebration to play out over Friday and the weekend, which was expected to include a visit from the Flying Squirrels’ mascots among other activities.
Academy sells items from brands like Yeti, Nike, The North Face, Under Armour and others in addition to several private label brands. Its in-house lineup includes brands Magellan Outdoors, Freely and Mosaic and R.O.W.
Academy also provides free services like line winding for fishing rods, grill assembly, scope mounting on firearms and propane exchange. It also sells hunting and fishing licenses.
The company declined to share its investment in the Short Pump store, but said it spends an average of $4 million to $5 million on buildouts for new stores.
Maryland-based Doyle Construction Co. was the general contractor. The architecture firm was Arkansas-based pb2 architecture + engineering.
The Short Pump store is the third of nine stores Academy plans to open this year. It is planning to open between 80 and 100 more stores over the course of the next five years, according to a company news release.
Company representatives didn’t share any specific plans for future stores in Virginia during a media tour of the store Thursday, but Iniguez hinted there could be more Academy outposts in the state one day.
“Once this location gets its feet wet and is successful, I’m sure there will be more to come,” Iniguez said.
Academy occupies a co-anchor space at The Corner, which also is anchored by Kroger. Academy’s lease on the former toy store was announced last spring.