Academy Sports, Boys and Girls Club sponsor shopping spree

by Clay Neely

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Academy Sports associate Ashley Gorden helps DJ Amundson try on gloves for football during Thursday's shopping spree.

Twenty-eight members of the Boys and Girls Club of Newnan were treated to a $100 shopping spree Thursday afternoon at the brand new Academy Sports and Outdoors at Newnan Pavilion.

It was a big surprise for the youngsters as they headed in the club van for the store for what they thought was just an outing. The lucky shoppers were only made aware of their future bonanza five minutes prior to their arrival at Academy Sports.

Academy partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Newnan by donating $100 Academy gift cards and two personal assistants per student as the youngsters were free to shop for anything in the store at the special event held the day before the Friday grand opening.

This is not an uncommon practice as Academy will partner with a local youth organization, such as the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, or Big Brothers-Big Sisters, to give back to that particular community before they open a new store to the public.

According to Academy Senior Communications Coordinator Eric Herrera, “Active community involvement, particularly for local youth, is a cornerstone for Academy especially when we are opening in a new market where people may not be aware of the fact.”

Darryl Smith, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Newnan and Coweta, explained the process behind the selection of the lucky group. “These children were selected based on their own personal qualities of character, participation and behavior,” he said.

Smith is fond of imparting the phrase to the children: “Skill can make you rich but character can make you poor.” He stresses that a positive attitude will warrant positive results. Each young person was designated two personal shopping assistants from Academy. The assistants asked each child what their interests were and then proceeded to help them select items that would be a perfect fit.

Bryan Torres, one of the lucky participants, beamed as he proudly showed the contents of his shopping cart — a full-sized soccer goal and soccer ball, back to school shoes and backpack and a toy ball for his sister.

Character on display.

The idea of 28 children engaged in a shopping spree could conjure images of the “kid in a candy store” free-for-all. But for these lucky children, their attitudes ranged from quietly reserved to downright practical as they perused the aisles with their assistants in an orderly fashion.

In contrast to a post Thanksgiving Black Friday, one would hardly know that a “shopping spree” was taking place.

Ricky Jordan, store manager, stressed the importance of strong customer service and a comfortable shopping experience ranging from their no-hassle return policy to in-home delivery for certain items.

Academy aims to make the shopping experience a perfect fit for each individual — from a virtual driving range that analyzes your golf swing to determine your specific needs to the custom helmet fitting area that not only determines your size but also allows for the color customization of the helmet to match your team.

The new store is being touted as a “concept store” with updated aesthetics, signage and making it incredibly easy to navigate by slowly doing away with taller aisle structures and embracing a more open feel.

Today, Academy will officially open its doors to the public at 8 a.m. and the first 100 customers in line who show they “like” the official Academy Facebook page will receive a free 50-quart Igloo rolling cooler.

On Saturday, former Georgia Bulldog and current Denver Bronco wide-receiver Tavarres King will be signing free autographs between 2 and 3 p.m.

Academy’s Grand Opening is slated for August 2-5 and will consist of three days full of giveaways, prizes, product try-ons, interactive product demos, product displays, games, plus opportunities to interact with pros who represent top brands sold at Academy Sports and Outdoors.

Among the free giveaways are shoes from Crocs, products from Columbia, men’s Wrangler jeans and more. Customers can also register to win an $500 Academy gift card each day of the grand opening celebration.

Construction began in January on the new Academy store, which boasts more than 73,000 square feet of footwear, apparel, sports and leisure products plus hunting, fishing and camping equipment.

The opening of the new Academy Sports and Outdoors also brings an additional 150 new jobs to the Newnan area, according to company materials. These multiple hires range from general floor associates, management, and department specialists to shipping and receiving, security, loss prevention and janitorial positions.

The Newnan opening marks their 160th store. There are several in Georgia, including locations in Athens, Cumming, Dalton, Hiram, Macon, McDonough, Snellville and Warner Robins.



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