published Friday, April 25th, 2014

Hibbett Sporting Goods opening two more stores in Chattanooga

Hibbett Sporting Goods continues to make a bigger play for the Chattanooga market as it plans to open a new store this weekend in Brainerd and another on Signal Mountain Road within the next couple of months.

The Birmingham-based retailer is slated to unveil its latest store off Brainerd Road across from the new Chick-fil-A and Brainerd Village on Saturday.

In June, Hibbett's future store, its third in Chattanooga, will go into the Wal-Mart shopping center on Signal Mountain Road in a former Shoe Dept. location.

Company spokeswoman Jessica Casto said that store will go in 5,200 square feet of space. Typically, Hibbert stores hire between eight to 10 part-time people, she said.

Jeff Gray, the company's vice president of real estate, said Hibbett likes the Chattanooga market.

"We try to find areas of a market which seem to be void of sporting goods," he said.

Gray said the company isn't interested in the Hamilton Place vicinity because the mall area already has big box sporting goods stores such as Dick's and Academy Sports.

But, he said, officials believe both the Brainerd and Signal Mountain Road areas are underserved.

"Chattanooga is a good town for us," Gray said.

Hibbett's Brainerd Park shopping center will occupy about 3,900 square feet.

He said Hibbett has been in Chattanooga for decades, noting it had been in Eastgate Mall until that property was repositioned from a retail to an office center.

Hibbett returned to Northgate Mall over the past year or so, and that store has done "pretty well" since it began operating there, the company official said.

Gray said Hibbett doesn't have any immediate plans for other stores in Chattanooga, though it has looked at Ooltewah. Already, the retailer is in Cleveland, Tenn., and Fort Oglethorpe with its company-owned units.

Hibbett has 59 other locations in Tennessee. It operates in 31 states, and it has more than 915 full-line sporting goods stores in small- to mid-sized markets, predominantly in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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