New sports store opens in Moosomin

October 18, 2023, 10:10 am
Kara Kinna

Angela Hales, the manager of Moosomin Sports Excellence, in front of the new store.

A new sports store—Moosomin Sports Excellence—has opened its doors in Moosomin. Located at 903 South Front Street, in the former Sask liquor store location, the store carries clothing, footwear, and sporting goods.

Operated by Angela and Chad Hales, in partnership with Keystone Sports Excellence out of Portage la Prairie, both Chad and Angela said they knew the town needed a sports store when their daughter ruined a running shoe one day and they had to drive to the city to get her new shoes.

“How it all really got started, we moved back from Okotoks, Alberta and our daughter Jayda blew a pair of sneakers, and we couldn’t get sneakers in town,” says Chad. “So we had to load up that Saturday because she needed them for Monday for school and we drove to the city and I said ‘this is crazy, there should be a place where you can buy sneakers.’ And the same with hockey sticks. Jayda’s in hockey and if she breaks a hockey stick you have to order it online.

“So that’s what we are trying to bring is more accessibility to the community for that kind of stuff. You break a stick at the rink, you just drive down the road and pick one up. Same with ball equipment. Same with Angela’s curling broom, she needed a new curling broom and we had to go out of town to get a curling broom.

“And winter boots. We ordered a pair of boots last year for the girls and they were the wrong size because we ordered them online so now you have to send them back or you keep them until they grow into them. At least this way you can put a pair on and make sure that they fit.”

Angela says the couple knew they wanted to start a sports store, but it wasn’t until they were approached by someone wanting to partner with them that they were able to make it a reality.

“We had a partner come to us and we had kind of kicked around the idea of a sporting goods store but we weren’t in the position to start one ourselves,” says Angela. “So when it was brought to our attention, I was asked if I wanted to manage a sporting goods store, but I had the Urban Market at the time so I was like ‘Well, I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.’ Then we discussed it and thought it was a great idea. We wanted to find a partner with a sporting goods store as well, and Chad grew up with Kelly Funk and Ryan Harrison, the owners of Keystone Sports Excellence in Portage, and it all started to come together.”

“We did our research and the best way to get started with a store would be to partner with somebody that’s already in the business,” adds Chad. “So with me knowing Kelly, and I went to school with Ryan too, I called Kelly and we had a few conversations back and forth and then we kind of got the ball rolling. The building was available so Ryan and Kelly came out for a visit, and how the store was laid out was kind of what they directed us towards, because with them having a store in Portage, they kind of knew what it should look like and so that’s pretty much what we went with.”

Kelly Funk, one of the owners of Keystone Sports Excellence, says Moosomin has been on their radar for a while.

“We came to Moosomin, took a little drive and looked around. We actually looked at Moosomin 10 years ago as an expansion idea. We just didn’t have the manpower, so it was always in the back of our minds. I don’t think we even told Angela and Chad that, but we did a little research on Moosomin, and with everything that’s going on here, it could be a little hot pocket. There are great opportunities happening in Moosomin, it appears to be a great community and that made this decision a lot easier.

“Moosomin is a busy community, it’s a country community, and usually country people are loyal to you, so you can make some relationships and, ideally, Moosomin owners are going to be very successful down the road. We have no idea how long Portage will be involved, but we’ll be involved until there’s no need for us.”

Funk says having a mix of clothing, shoes and sporting goods seems to work well in the business.

“Our store in Portage is set up with 65 per cent clothing and footwear. The sports will bring people in to a certain aspect, but the clothing and the footwear is where we have a bigger opportunity to get bigger sales and the bigger audience that are involved in more activities. Right now, true sporting goods stores are having a tough time because they need some clothing and footwear to move people in and out of the store.

“Our store is 10,000 square feet, so it’s just about triple the one in Moosomin, but it would be almost identical to what’s here.

“Right now wholesalers are looking to expand again—we’re out of Covid and it’s a positive environment for them. So we’re hitting the floor with the most competitive prices, and in today’s world we’re competitive with absolutely everyone because everyone is shopping, our competitors are on the internet, so our prices have to be there—and we are there.”

Angela says people in the area have been looking forward to seeing the store open.

“Everybody’s pretty excited. I keep hearing, ‘When are you opening?’ So there’s been a lot of interest in the last little bit waiting for us to open. We’re getting questions like, ‘When are you open because I need hockey stuff for my children?’ They don’t want to go to the city if they don’t have to, which is fantastic. We will get a lot of community support which is amazing and Moosomin is definitely good for supporting local.”

“We want to be here for the community,” says Chad. “So if someone doesn’t see something in our store and that’s what they want, we want to try to bring it to town.”

“It’s amazing,” adds Kelly, “because most of this business was leaving the community. Things like the jersey business was going to Brandon and now we’ve brought that back into the community.”