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Sport Chalet opens LA prototype

Regional sporting goods retailer Sports Chalet has opened a smaller format prototype store in a new downtown Los Angeles retail development known as FIGat7th.

The 27,000-sq.-ft. store in noticeably smaller than the chain’s typical 42,000-sq.-ft. store and features a new merchandising scheme with a product assortment pared back to focus on the needs and wants of the local market. The store also features a hub called the, "Expert Center," that is designed to host classes and clinics that encourage customers of all experience levels to discover new things and embrace an active lifestyle. The company plans to host 52 consecutive weeks of in store in-store clinics focused on cycling, training, hiking and scuba, with experienced and professionally trained expert staff members.

"We did the research and found that the downtown Los Angeles community in particular is underserved today. There’s a critical need for a community-oriented retailer that can provide an opportunity for residents, commuters and tourists to try, learn and experience their preferred sport at ease," said Craig Levra, chairman and CEO of Sports Chalet. "The new store location at FIGat7th provides customers who are both well-educated and experienced in their sports of choice, or who have an innate need to try something new, with the right gear and resources to get in the game."

The new layout includes flexible fixtures and modules that allow for the store to be transformed overnight based on changing market dynamics. And unlike the existing Sports Chalet one-stop-shop larger format stores, the new unit offers a more refined assortment of sporting equipment including cycling, training, scuba and running gear. However, shoppers will also be able to order from all of Sport Chalet’s offerings via iPad systems located throughout the store.

"The store design emphasizes both aesthetics and function," said Joshua Breeden, the project architect at Gensler, the design firm who created the store. "We wanted to create a space that highlights what Sports Chalet offers above any other specialty sporting goods retailer-expert positioning and knowledge."

With that in mind, the firm created the Expert Center to facilitate customer interaction with the store’s 68 experts on any topic ranging from bike repair to the best surfing spots in the area. The audiovisual capabilities, reconfigurable seating and display elements in this area also allow experts to conduct a wide range of instructional and hands-on events throughout the year. The experts speak seven foreign languages, including English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Hindi.

The Sports Chalet is the latest retailer to open in the FIGat7th development, a 330,000-sq.-ft. retail project anchored by one of the nation’s first City Target stores which opened last fall. Sports Chalet currently operates 53 stores in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.