Posted: Friday, October 4th 2013 at 10:45am
Dick's Sporting Goods opens for business at Lakeshore Mall
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – In what might be a prelude to the day after Thanksgiving (also known as Black Friday), several hundred shoppers were queued up early Friday morning, waiting for the doors to open at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Lakeshore Mall.
Leading the charge were Ray and Flo Jones of Flowery Branch. The Jones were at the head of the line, having arrived twenty hours earlier, hoping to be the first through the doors for the grand opening celebration.
“Any time they have Black Friday free stuff or anything like that I will be outside…a couple of days before,” Mr. Jones, 27, explained.
“We want the gift card,” Jones added.
The first 100 people to enter the store were handed “Mystery Gift Cards”, ranging in value from $5 to $500, as well as other souvenir gifts.
And it didn’t take long to hear a shout of joy; Barry Roach of Gainesville had just discovered he was the lucky recipient of the $500 gift card.
“Unbelievable! I’ve never, ever won anything. Nothing,” Roach said with a grin that went from one ear to the other. “And we were standing at the back door. Some guy came and got us and said we had to go up front.”
Roach said he planned to use the card to get a new pair of hunting boots…and possibly “a little something” to surprise his wife.
This scene was likely being duplicated in Clarke County as Dick’s was simultaneously opening a new store in Athens.
Community Marketing Manager Jennifer Evans said that it was unusual to be opening two stores at one time so close to each other.
“It’s not something that we typically have in the same area, opening the same weekend, but we’re kind of excited that (they) are happening together to create the excitement in north Georgia,” Evans said.
The 50,000 square foot store is a major component in the renovation of the 40-plus year old mall, first developed as an open-air shopping center in the early 1960s by Gainesville businesswoman Pearl Nix.
“I think we were a little surprised to have people here from noon yesterday. I think it speaks to the fact that Gainesville is ready for Dick’s Sporting Goods,” Evans said as she rapid-fire handed complimentary water bottles to customers streaming through the doorway.
She appears to have a point.
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