It’s been a year of changes for Sportzone, and manager Sheilah Denholm can’t wait to show Powell River the new look, focus, and products available at one of the city’s independent sporting goods stores.
“If you haven’t been inside Sportzone in a while, and you love hiking and being outdoors, then you’ll want to check us out,” says Sheilah. “We’ve spent the last year listening to the community, figuring out what the gaps are in what people are looking for, and bringing in new product lines to fill those gaps.”
For example, last winter people were looking for a local source for snowshoes. Now, snow enthusiasts can find Denali snowshoes and trekking poles at Sportzone.
“We were just unpacking them, and we sold two pairs!” says Sheilah. “And that’s just one example of how we’re tailoring our offerings to what the community needs. As an independent retailer, we really are a partnership with the community. We will be successful if we bring in products that will be welcomed and supported, and to do that, we need the community to tell us what they want and can’t find locally.”
From a complete rebranding including a new logo to freshened paint and fixtures inside, Sportzone is where anyone who enjoys being on the trails, water, or snow can find quality gear.
“We now carry Montane apparel and accessories,” says Sheilah. “Based in the UK, these clothes are lightweight and breathable and can stand up to whatever nature can throw at them. Montane also comes with a lifetime warranty, something you don’t find very often with clothing.”
Sportzone also stocks Australia-based Finz water wear and accessories, including uniguards for kayakers and canoeists, and swimwear with chlorine-resistant features.
“The fourth new product line that we’re excited about is HydraPak,” says Sheilah. “They create innovative hydration reservoirs and water bottles to keep your thirst at bay while you’re on the water or on the trails. These new high-quality brands have products that will last for years.
“When you buy from us, you know that your gear will be able to weather the conditions in our temperate rainforest, and you won’t be spending money year after year to replace items that only last one season before wearing out.”
Sheilah took over management of Sportzone in October 2020. Having worked in retail management for most of her career, she most recently headed up the Powell River Coles store for six years.
“My team at Coles and I built a really strong community connection, so much so that when some of our regulars see me just down the mall, they want to find out what happened to us,” she says. “I’m so pleased I was also able to hire some of my previous staff from Coles here at Sportzone, and we’re really focused on bringing that level of attention to customer service to this new venture.”
Part of that community-centred approach is connecting with local experts. For example, signed copies of Eagle Walz’s new hut-to-hut guide to the Sunshine Coast Trail are available in store.
“We sold out of the first lot he dropped off with us in no time, so he had to bring us more,” she adds. “This is one of the ways we bring different peoples’ experience and knowledge into our store.”
Sportzone is located at the north end of Town Centre mall, near CIBC. The store is open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, and will have a Black Friday event on Friday and Saturday, November 26 and 27, complete with door crasher specials.Residents can also connect with Sportzone on Facebook at facebook.com/PRSportzone, where staff welcome suggestions for products customers want to see available in Powell River.