Kaylyn Boccia, Staff Writer
No longer will the members of the Oneonta community be forced to travel to Binghamton or Albany to purchase hunting supplies, sports gear and winter necessities. With the grand opening of Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Southside Mall, all of these items are now just minutes away.
The ribbon cutting ceremony took place promptly at 7:59 a.m. on Friday morning, with doors opening at 8 a.m. Even at such an early hour, eager, already loyal customers showed up ready to shop. Dick’s Sporting Goods’ marketing manager Dan LaBreck shared his excitement about this grand opening. He stressed how thrilled the community was to have a Dick’s in their backyard, and his enthusiasm, as well as that of other storeowners in Southside was evident. LaBreck mentioned that these storeowners were thankful to the Dick’s association for coming to Southside, with the high hopes that this will bring more customers to the mall and potentially boost their sales as well.
There are currently 506 Dick’s Sporting Goods locations, with Oneonta being the most recent. “This market region is home for the company,” said LaBreck. Dick’s has a range of items including hunting and sports attire, gear and sneakers, as well as winter gloves, hats and jackets that everyone in Oneonta will certainly need starting within the next month.
This grand opening is a big deal for the Oneonta community because it has now made necessary products accessible to them. LaBreck mentioned that he has been in touch with little league teams and other associations in our community that Dick’s can potentially help with supplying uniforms and sports gear as well as fundraising. In his efforts to involve and help the community, LaBreck also encourages and suggests for SUNY Oneonta athletes or clubs to utilize Dick’s Sporting Goods for their fundraisers or to hold information booths.
In further celebration of the Dick’s Grand Opening, former Knicks player John Starks visited the Oneonta store this past Sunday. The first 250 customers received wristbands allowing them to get autographs from and pictures with Starks. The event ran from 12 to 2p.m. and the turnout was successful. “It is unimaginable how great this weekend’s turnout has been,” said store manager Daryl Cooper. The line to meet Starks continued to wrap around the store at a steady flow. Many fans patiently waited in their Knicks attire, holding basketballs and shirts to be autographed. “It is an exciting opportunity to have a celebrity in Oneonta, and it is a big moment as Oneonta continues to expand and develop,” said community member Nicholas Reyes.
Starks took the time to greet each customer, ask them questions, and take pictures with each fan. “It is great to be at Dick’s Grand Opening,” said Starks, “It feels good to see a lot of my fans and Knicks fans, and to see the kids come out.”
Customers who have lived here their whole lives expressed their excitement to now have Dick’s near by. Amy DeAngelo confirmed this and claimed her loyalty to the store, but also stated “Meeting Starks was the highlight of my life.”
The grand opening and ceremony as a whole was a great success and brought out a large crowd. The community members, managers and athletes had only positive things to say about the store’s new location. Oneonta students should be encouraged to come on out and see what Dick’s Sporting Goods has to offer, and check out their new location.