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Scheels opens 250,000-sq.-ft. store in Phoenix

Al Urbanski
Traffic more than doubled in Fashion Center on Scheels' opening day.

It’s not the largest location ever opened by the sporting goods store with the Ferris Wheel, but Scheels had to add 100,000 sq. ft. to a former Nordstrom’s to get it done.

The North Dakota-based chain — whose mega-marts size up more closely to stadiums than sporting goods stores — this week opened a 250,000-sq.-ft. location at Macerich’s Chandler Fashion Center,  Chandler, Ariz., which is in the Phoenix metro.  In addition to the Ferris Wheel, the store features  a saltwater aquarium and a wildlife mountain — as well as sneakers, team sports gear, and fishing and hunting equipment.

Opening day on Sept. 30 drew tens of thousands of shoppers to the store, which employs more than 400 associates, according to Macerich.

“Traffic at Chandler Fashion Center was up more than 108% for the day,” said Macerich president Ed Coppola. “Ultimately, Scheels is expected to generate four times what the previous tenant generated and add significant traffic to an already strong center.”

Scheels started with a hardware and general merchandise store in Moorhead, Minn., purchased by Friedrich A. Scheele in 1902. The family-run and employee-owned business focused on farm and home-and-hardware stores until the 1980s, when sporting goods began accounting for half of its receipts. In 1998, CEO Steve D. Scheel decided to transform Scheels sporting goods stores into destinations and opened the chain’s first 100,000-sq.-ft. space in Iowa City.

The company's largest store is a 295,000 sq. ft. location in Sparks, Nev.

The Phoenix Scheels — the chain’s 32nd entertainment-based location — also features a Fuzziwig’s Candy Shop and a Ginna’s Café along with arcade games and sports simulators.

Fashion Center, located in the high-income Phoenix suburb of Chandler, houses more than 180 tenants that include Apple, Lululemon, Macy’s and Crayola Experience Studio. Cheesecake Factory, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill and P.F. Chang’s head its food and beverage lineup.

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