Big 5 set to open in two weeks |

Big 5 set to open in two weeks

Axie Navas
South Lake Tahoe Big 5 Sporting Goods Store Manager Kelly Koehn prepared for the store's May 17 opening on Thursday. Axie Navas / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Employees of South Lake Tahoe’s newest retailer, Big 5 Sporting Goods, shelved the last of the merchandise Thursday in preparation for the store’s grand opening later this month.

“Everything is going really well,” Store Manager Kelly Koehn said.

The 11,500-square-foot sporting goods store located near the “Y” is scheduled to open its doors to customers May 17.

The South Lake Tahoe location will employ 14 to 18 people, according to Big 5 Director of Public Affairs Rick Gridley.

“We’ve had an interest in South Lake Tahoe,” Gridley said. “It’s a great destination that’s big with summer sports and winter sports. It’s always been on our radar.”

The opening comes less than a year after T.J. Maxx signed a lease at the Garfinkle building across the street. It’s part of the city’s drive to attract more businesses to the area, South Lake Tahoe Mayor Tom Davis said.

“The whole idea was to get T.J. Maxx up here and they would spur additional interest. It’s more activity at the ‘Y’ and it’s really important to revitalize that area,” Davis said.

The South Shore T.J. Maxx was plagued by a series of delays that pushed the opening back several months, and Davis said permitting was a long, nightmarish process.

The difficulties haven’t stopped. Owners of the Garfinkle building are currently negotiating with the South Tahoe Public Utility District and Lukins Brothers Water Company Inc. regarding insufficient water pressure in case of an emergency at the store, according to Davis.

It’s a unique situation that hasn’t prevented other companies from signing South Shore leases. Davis said AutoZone, a national auto parts retailer, plans to open a location at the former martial arts building adjacent to Izzy’s Burgers & BBQ this fall. He said the company hopes to start construction on the building later this month.

“We’re going to cut any red tape that we can and be a facilitator instead of an obstacle,” Davis said.

The South Lake Tahoe Big 5 will hold a three-day grand opening sale Memorial Day weekend. The event kicks off at 9 a.m. on May 25 and will feature daily giveaways to the first 100 customers through May 27.

Big 5 Sporting Goods was founded in 1955 and operates 414 sporting goods locations throughout the western United States, according to a company press release. The company, which runs 200 stores in California, is headquartered in El Segundo, Calif.

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