With three kids under the age of 10, Jared Fields and his wife, Shvonna, know only too well how expensive buying equipment can be when a child wants to play hockey, baseball or almost any other sport. Not to mention the money spent when said child decides they don’t like one sport, and want to try a different one.
Fields, 39, is the co-owner of Play It Again Sports, a national franchise, which opened in late August. Located at 1808 W. Francis Ave., Fields has five to six employees at any given time depending on the season.
The sports franchise wasn’t new to Fields. More than 10 years ago he worked at a Play It Again Sports store in Spokane, under another owner, while he attended college. Then he took a job managing a Spokane restaurant, but said he missed the retail sports scene.
“The original store closed about three years ago,” Fields said. “We’re happy to be back in town. I think this community needs a store where people can recycle sports gear for kids because they outgrow things so fast. And some parents want to see if the kids are going to like a certain sport or not before they spend a lot of money.”
Fields said he knows the financial impact of kids playing sports can be huge, and how fast kids can outgrow sports equipment, or decide that they don’t like a sport or activity that they swore they would love.
The store, in about 4,000-square-feet of retail space in front and 2,500-square-feet in the back area, carries about half new and half used sports gear.
“We have equipment for just about any sport being played in the Spokane area, including basketball, baseball, golf and disc golf, lacrosse, skiing, skating, biking and more,” he said.
Fitness gear is also available at the store, including big items like treadmills, elliptical trainers and exercise bikes, as well as smaller items like weights, Kettle bells and boxing gloves.
Fields, who coaches both baseball and hockey in the community, said he also provides information about Spokane sports leagues and organizations on the store’s website, as well as supplies for coaches.
“I think the store is a good thing for the community. It gives more kids a chance to play sports that would not have had a chance because of the cost,” Fields said.
Customers can either trade in equipment or take credit or cash for sports gear that they can no longer use.
“The pricing on a lot of stuff depends on name brands, the quality and the shape the item is in,” he said.
The biggest selling sports gear right now in the store is for hockey, baseball and soccer equipment, he said.
“And lacrosse is really growing, and it’s increasingly a girls sport,” he said.
Play It Again Sports has a full service repair shop for bikes and other sports equipment at the back of the store, as well as skate sharpening, snowboard and ski tune-ups, and lacrosse head stringing. Skiing packages, including boots and skis, or snowboard rentals are also offered at the shop.
“I’m excited to be part of something in the community where people can come in, trade in sports equipment,” Fields said. “I think it is giving more kids a chance to play.