Big-box sporting goods chain leaps into Short Pump

Academy Sports + Outdoors has opened its first Virginia store at The Corner at Short Pump mall. (Jack Jacobs photos)

A newly emerging 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 the Short Pump Shopping Center.

It’s the first location in the Old Dominion for the Texas-based chain, which has more than 260 stores in 17 states. The nearly 60,000-square-foot space in Short Pump was once occupied by a Toys ‘R’ Us-Babies ‘R’ Us combo store until it closed due to bankruptcy in 2018.

The store stocks a wide range of clothing, shoes, equipment and gear for sports and outdoor activities such as fishing and camping.

Though only open for a few days, Short Pump store manager Charles Iniguez said Thursday he has seen heavy foot traffic so far.

“It’s been increasing steadily every day since we opened, which is good for us,” Iniguez said. “Customers come in. You see what we have to offer and the value we have. They tell their friends, families and neighbors.”

The store planned a grand opening celebration for Friday and the weekend that would include a visit from the Flying Squirrels mascots.

Academy Sports + Outdoors sells a wide range of clothing, gear and equipment.

Academy sells items from brands like Yeti, Nike, The North Face, Under Armor and others in addition to several private labels. The in-house range includes the brands Magellan Outdoors, Freely and Mosaic and ROW

The Academy also offers complimentary services such as fishing rod line winding, grill assembly, firearm scope assembly, and propane replacement. It also sells hunting and fishing licenses.

The company declined to share its investment in the short pump business, but said it spends an average of $4 million to $5 million growing new businesses.

Maryland-based Doyle Construction Co. was the general contractor. The architectural firm was Arkansas-based pb2 architecture + engineering.

The Short Pump Store is the third of nine stores Academy plans to open this year. According to a company press release, the company plans to open between 80 and 100 more stores over the next five years.

Company officials didn’t share any specific plans for future stores in Virginia during a media tour of the store Thursday, but Iniguez did hint that there may one day be more academy outposts in the state.

“Once this site takes root and thrives, I’m sure there will be more to come,” said Iniguez.

Academy occupies a co-anchor room in The Corner, also hosted by Kroger. The academy’s lease on the former toy store was announced last spring.

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