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Office Hours

Mon., May 9, 2011, 3:58 p.m.

Spokane’s Kimmel lands in Redmond; is lacrosse the next big thing?

Spokane’s Kimmel Athletic Supply has acquired a Redmond sports gear firm and will use that location as its West Side base, company president Bill Davis said.

The company has retail stores in Coeur d’Alene, Yakima and in Spokane, and has had sales staff in the Puget Sound area for nearly two years. The acquisition adds 23 workers and brings the company headcount to more than 120.

“The size of the population there (in the Puget Sound area) is just so large that we have to be there,” Davis said.

Kimmel bought only the assets and inventory of Redmond-based Athletic Supply LLC. Davis would not disclose terms. Kimmel did not buy the building, he said.

A West Side location helps the company spot developing team-sport trends, he said. Lacrosse has picked up notably in the Redmond, Bellevue and Bothell areas, even though it’s not a large share of total company revenue, he said.

As a result of that interest, Kimmel now carries more lacrosse equipment in Spokane and is slowly seeing a spike in interest for that team sport, Davis said.

“When customers start looking (for lacrosse gear), we want to be the place for them,” he said.

In addition to team sports equipment, Kimmel also designs and sells custom corporate logos and company-branded clothing. “That was close to 15 percent of our business in 2007,” Davis said. That segment sagged during the recession, but is showing signs of rebound, he added.

“Where a company used to order 1,000 T-shirts, they cut back to about 100 recently,” he said. “Now they’re starting to order more.”

The Redmond store is a sizable 8,000 square feet. That is almost four times the size of the Spokane store at 202 E. Mission. Its other stores, in Yakima and Coeur d’Alene, measure 3,000 and 1,800 square feet.

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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.