Xavier Finney, 7, made the first purchase at the new Academy Sports & Outdoors in Wichita: a basketball and shoes.
“I’m happy I got picked to come here. It was fun,” said Jayla Dennis, 11, who purchased some Nike clothing.
Finney and Dennis were among 30 kids from the Boys & Girls Club of South Central Kansas who were invited to the store on Thursday evening for a youth shopping spree. Each kid received a $100 gift card to the store.
Academy Sports, 2710 N. Maize Road, officially opened at 8 a.m. Friday.
It is the first Academy Sports in Kansas but the 153rd store for the Texas-based chain, which now operates in 13 states, mostly in the South. Total annual sales for the company exceed $2.7 billion, according to its website.
The Wichita store offers products ranging from sporting goods and clothing to hunting and fishing equipment.
It employs about 150 workers, who held a ribbon-cutting prior to the shopping spree. Those interested can still apply online to work at the store.
“It was definitely a helpful impact to the economy in our city,” said store director James Haden.
Construction on the 73,000-square-foot store was completed in about six months.
In addition to sports equipment, the store offers such services as a propane tank exchange, racket stringing, hunting and fishing licenses, gun bore-sighting and gun scope mounting.
“One of the things you’ll find in our golf department, that you’ll find in the Wichita store that’s unique, is that we have a golf simulator and golf driving range,” Haden said. “Our golf specialists specifically fit clubs to our customers.”
Academy Sports is having a series of events Nov. 16-18 as part of its grand opening, including giveaways for the first 100 customers on Nov. 16 and 17.
The store will open for Black Friday at 5 a.m., Haden said.