Big 5 Sporting Goods is opening a new store in Merced.
The 16,462-square-foot outlet at 1746 W. Olive Ave. in the Merced Marketplace shopping center next to Lowe's will open on Aug. 1.
"We are very excited about opening our newest store in Merced's vibrant market and believe the new additional location will enhance our proven ability to successfully fulfill the needs of sports enthusiasts in the community," said Steve Miller, the president and chief executive officer of Big 5 Sporting Goods.
The store will hold a grand opening from Aug. 1 through Aug. 4. The first 100 customers on the first three days will receive giveaways and there will be special sale prices, free raffles and other promotions.
The giveaways are a felt embroidered Big 5 cap (Aug. 1), a mini flashlight (Aug. 2) and a Coleman stadium seat (Aug. 3). The summer store hours are: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Sundays.
According to Big 5's director of public affairs, Rick Gridley, a new store usually creates 15 to 20 new jobs. The new location will have 28 employees and comprise new hires and employees who transferred from the Big 5 store in the Merced Mall.
Gridley said it's unclear how the new location will affect the store in the mall.
"It's absolutely to be decided," Gridley said. "We have nothing to go on at this point. We're not going to count it out. It's kind of a wait and see. Our lease is up at the first of the year in the Merced Mall. I've been surprised before. We've opened stores in the same city before and seen them both do well."
Big 5 Sporting Goods was founded in 1955 and currently operates 415 full-line sporting goods stores in 12 Western states.
Other national retail stores have struggled during tough economic times, but Big 5 has been able to withstand the recession.
"It's very true," Ridley said. "There has been evidence that retail sales have dampened in this current economic climate. I think it's clear Big 5 is holding its own. We continue to open stores because a lot of good operating procedures and sound business sense."
Reporter Shawn Jansen can be reached at (209) 385-2462 or sjansen@merced sunstar.com.