The opening of the first Dick's Sporting Goods in Fresno Wednesday brings another national player to the sporting goods market, but some local retailers say they're not worried about the competition.
Pittsburgh-based Dick's, with 450 stores nationwide, is taking over 50,000 square feet of the former Mervyns at 3380 W. Shaw Ave. at Valentine Avenue.
It also has signed a lease to open near a Walmart Supercenter at a future shopping center at Highway 168 and Herndon Avenue in Clovis, according to center developer David Paynter.
Dick's will compete with a handful of locally owned sporting goods stores. It also will face off with Big 5 Sporting Goods, big-box stores like Walmart and Target, and two Sports Authority stores on north Blackstone that are nearly across the street from each other.
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"I think it will dilute the sales of every other sporting goods store in Fresno to some degree," said Barry Bauer, president of Herb Bauer Sporting Goods.
But he and First String Sports president Phil Luna say they don't expect Dick's to do any major damage to their businesses.
Herb Bauer is strong in areas that Dick's isn't, he said, including in the ski department, firearms, water sports and fly fishing.
And First String Sports serves customers seeking higher-end products than Dick's carries, Luna said.
"The kid that wants to buy the $300, $400 baseball glove, they'll go to our store because Dick's won't have it," he said.
The north Blackstone Avenue First String Sports competes with two Sports Authority stores and a Big Five within two miles, but is still the company's highest-grossing store, he said.
First String opened a store in Modesto two weeks ago – and Dick's opened a store across the street there three weeks ago.
Early on, Dick's employees came into the store in uniform looking for baseball pants they couldn't find at Dick's, Luna said.
Luna and Bauer say they expect Dick's arrival to hurt sales at Sports Authority and Big 5 more than the locally owned stores. Those chains serve similar customers, they said.
Big 5 and Sports Authority did not return calls seeking comment.
Dick's is on a major expansion kick, adding 27 to 30 stores each year, said Agustin Pineyrua, Dick's senior marketing manager. The retailer, which has saturated the East Coast, has begun expanding into western states during the last five years.
It got a foothold in California about three years ago by buying Chick's Sporting Goods, a 15-store chain in Southern California, and converting those stores to Dick's.
Dick's is designed as "one-stop shop" where mom, dad and the kids can all do their shopping in one place, Pineyrua said.
What sets Dick's apart is its large golf department, which includes a simulator that golfers can use to test clubs, as well as its hunting and fishing departments and a fitness department popular with women.
The store employs about 50 workers. It opens at 8 a.m. today, and will celebrate its grand opening at 8 a.m. Friday.