Going mobile

Frank
Frank Gale
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Power Play Sports & Recreation takes it athletic gear on the road and uses social media to spread the word

Keith Pike said he and his wife, Karen, have gotten an excellent reception since they took their mobile store on the road towards the end of last summer.

This year they’ll be heading out again from their storefront business in Stephenville and hope to visit even more communities in western Newfoundland and Labrador, selling sports and recreational clothing and gear.

Their merchandise is brought in through Power Play Sports Excellence, a buying group, which Pike said helps them keep prices down but yet sell quality brands.

After taking an early retirement from College of the North Atlantic in 2009, where he was manager of payroll, he decided to get into business — something he always dreamed of doing.

He’s always been interested in sports, and because his wife Karen and two kids, Brittany, who is in Grade 12, and Geoffrey, in Grade 10, are all sports fanatics, they felt it was the right thing to do.

“The timing was right as our kids are older now and even help out by working at the business at times,” Pike said. “It’s teaches them responsibility and it’s all part of this being a family business.”

During the two months the mobile unit ran last year, the couple went to L’Anse au Loup, Port aux Basques, Burgeo, St. Anthony, Flower’s Cove and Port au Choix.

This year they’re looking at hitting the road in April and bringing the mobile store to Deer Lake, Labrador West and Goose Bay, in addition to other communities.

In the trailer, merchandise is displayed exactly like it is in a store, and purchases can be made using debit and major credit cards. The trailer is equipped with a change room for people wanting to try on clothing and they even have a heat-molding unit on the trailer for molding skates.

This year, as they head out on the road, they will be looking to cater to the needs of people in specific areas. For example, Pike said St. Anthony is big into broomball, so they’ll carry lots of that type of product and even get into the colours for teams in a specific area.

While he recognizes he faces competition from online businesses, he said people still like the opportunity to try on what they are purchasing rather than have to send it back through the mail if it doesn’t fit.

“People in some of these small towns, where specialty merchandise is not readily available to them, think it’s nice to have it coming right into their community,” Pike said.

He said their business is big on customer service and that’s one of the biggest reasons they got into this mobile unit, which he believes is probably the only one of its type for sporting goods in this province.

The company carries outdoor clothing, footwear and all types of sporting and recreation gear from hockey, soccer and softball to Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.

Pike said Power Play Sport and Recreation is on Facebook and the schedule for their mobile unit and the towns they will be visiting this spring and summer will be posted there.

Organizations: College of the North Atlantic, Play Sports & Recreation, Nordic

Geographic location: Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, St. Anthony Port aux Basques Burgeo Port au Choix Deer Lake Labrador West Goose Bay

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