How the 5 Fanciest Sports Shops in the USA Began

The Sports Authority, Gart Sports Company, Dick’s Clothing and Sporting Goods, Academy Sports and Outdoors and Cabela’s are USA’s fanciest sports shops.

Read and catch some hint of how five of USA’s fanciest sports stores began.


The Sports Authority, Inc. is the largest sporting goods retailer, with its offering of the most complete line of products for sports enthusiasts. It was in 1987 that Jack Smith, then chairman of Herman’s World of Sports, opened its first Sports Authority shop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Smith applied the idea that made Home Depot a hit in his conceptualization of the Sports Authority.

Three years later Smith already had eight giant stores in Florida. That same year, Joseph Antonini, former CEO of Kmart Corporation, backed him up by acquiring the sporting goods small chain for 75 million dollars. With enough capital, Smith designed an expansion plan that soon made The Sports Authority rise to a hundred stores in four years.

Almost 140 shops are scattered all over US and Canada that bear over nine hundred famous brands including K2, Nike, Adidas, and Coleman. With its sturdy finances and technological advantage, The Sports Authority continues to lead the sporting goods industry.


The Gart Sports Company is United States’ second largest company specializing in the retail of sports equipment and goods. Its creator Nathan Gart, and his family moved from Russia to Colorado. Nathan sold newspapers and utilized his earnings to buy and sell watches and rings from his patrons. Saving an ample amount of capital, Nathan purchased a tiny, limited-spaced shop worth 500 dollars at downtown Denver in 1928. He then launched Gart Bros. which is a family business focusing on selling outdoor sporting merchandise such as camping, hunting, and fishing gears. A pocket knife was Nathan’s first sale.

Before long the shop developed into a family business in a new direction. Nathan’s brother George joined him in 1932, his brother Kibby two years after and another brother, Melvin joined in 1946. That same year, the company turned into Gart Bros. Sporting Goods Co.

Gart Sports Company introduced its first Sports Castle store, a renowned, pioneering superstore in downtown Denver in 1971.

Gart Sports Company merged with Sportmart, Inc. in 1998. It has now more than 180 stores located in Western and Midwestern America under the Oshman’s, Gart Sports, and Sportmart names.


In 1948, Richard “Dick” Stack created the Dick’s Clothing and Sporting Goods. He was 18. The owner of the Army and Navy shop where Dick was a salesman asked him if it’s feasible for the store to offer fishing gear. Young Dick devised a business plot over a series of nights without sleep. When he approached the store owner with his plan, the owner’s reaction was surprising. Dick was taken aback to hear from the owner that he would never be a good businessman.

Frustrated Dick found comfort in his grandmother who after learning Dick’s story, pulled out her savings worth $300 from a cookie jar, gave it to her grandson, and encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Dick then used the cash in opening his humble fishing gear store in Binghamton, New York.

After ten years and inspired by his faithful customers, Dick expanded his merchandise scale that include a large amount of what is offered at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores nowadays. Presently, the company has more than 300 stores situated in 30 plus states nationwide.


Academy Sports & Outdoors started its business in 1970. Arthur Gochman, an attorney, and his business associate bought Southern Sales, a chain of army and navy surplus that included 6 shops that was already into business failure. The idea of surplus business was learned by Arthur from his father, Max who then operated a chain of surplus outlets. In 1973, Arthur took over from his business associate. He then gave the company its commercial name Academy Corp., the name that he borrowed from his father’s shops.

Arthur gave up law in 1978 and transferred to Houston where Academy store is located to take on full control of the business. He ceased the selling of military surplus items and soon responded to new market trends of latest lifestyles. With the soaring prevalence of leisure wardrobe and sports footwear, Academy began offering sports apparel and goods, as well. The 1980s found the company transforming into a chain of stores supplying a varied and economically priced gamut of branded, superior sporting goods and apparel that gave the Academy Sports & Outdoors the perfect picture that remains until now.


Cabela’s is the globe’s leading company to deliver the finest outdoor equipment and supplies. The story of Cabela’s spawned from modest domestic beginnings. In 1961, Dick Cabela bought a set of fishing flies at a furniture show and thought it’s a good idea to sell them. When he came back home in Chappel, Nebraska, he placed an advertisement in a newspaper offering 12 hand-tied flies for 1 dollar. Inadvertently, Dick took the initial measure in making a thriving mail-order business and a multi-billion dollar venture.

Toiling at their kitchen table, Dick and his wife Mary began filling orders from sports lovers here and there in US. As demand for the fishing flies rose, Dick bought other outdoor leisure goods and sent a catalog of other merchandise offered. Their inventory escalated quickly as multitude of orders was generated from the catalog mailed. The following year, there was a requirement for a warehouse to meet the demand.

Cabela’s expansion is unstoppable with almost 80 catalogs delivered each year, and its online division soars higher.

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