Matt Kraska worked as a wildlife biologist in Montana before opening up his Play It Again Sports® franchise. Wanting a change, he began selling hockey and other sports equipment at a local ice rink in the winter. After success in that space, Matt decided that it could be a full-time business – with the right model.
“I liked Play It Again Sports’ overall business model and the wide variety of sporting and fitness equipment they carried,” Matt said. “Also, particularly in the sporting goods space, resale is key. I liked how Play It Again Sports incorporated this aspect into their business, so I decided it was a good fit.”
Matt opened his Play It Again Sports in Bozeman, Montana, in 2005. He quickly found success within his segment, building up an extensive client base with many repeat customers.
“I’ve always enjoyed the community aspect of owning my business,” said Matt. “My employees and I are not motivated by sales, but instead creating those important community relationships with different people who come into the store.”
In 2015, after 10 years in the same location, Matt’s lease was coming to an end. The store was successful beyond its capacity, and Matt and his staff began experiencing bottlenecks in their production. Inventory was coming in too quickly to get out on the floor in time, especially with the limited space. Matt then decided to move to a new, bigger space just down the road from his old location.
“All our customers knew we were moving, and since we have such a good community, people kept asking if they could help with the move,” Matt said. “So, we decided to capitalize on that, and we offered a $20 store credit to anyone who came out to help.”
Over 100 people showed up to help the day of the move. Matt and his staff moved all the heavier equipment the day before, but left some smaller items behind for those who wanted to help.
“We just left behind some balls, foam rollers, small dumbbells – that kind of stuff, thinking we’d only have a handful of people show up,” said Matt. “Way more people than we anticipated ended up coming. The new location was just about 300 yards from the old location, so we ended up just setting everyone up in a long line from store to store. They passed the equipment down the line, and it was a lot of fun.”
Matt has always enjoyed owning his own business, especially for the community-building aspects it allows.
“With the growth of online shopping, a lot of people think there is no need for brick-and-mortar locations,” said Matt. “But, I know our customers really appreciate the concept and enjoy coming in and having that community aspect – talking to someone face to face.”
Matt has now been in his new Play It Again sports location for two years. With plenty of space and community support, his business has continued to thrive.
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