Ozarks sporting goods store sees a rise in exercise equipment sales
Spring sports have come to a halt during the Coronavirus pandemic, which presents a challenge to one local sporting goods store during its peak season.
"I never thought I'd see a Spring without summer sports," said Jeff Newlin, the co-owner of Play It Again Sports in Springfield.
He said this is typically the store's peak season.
"In a usual Spring Break we may have 50 to 60 people in here," Newlin said.
Right now, that isn't the case.
"Definitely not now, they're not coming in, just more of the fitness-minded folks," he said. "There's definitely been very little sales with the team sports within the last week."
Newlin said this time of year people are typically coming in to buy softball and baseball gear, but this year the demand has been for workout equipment.
"As far as this time of year definitely more weight equipment, free weight equipment in the past,"he said. "Usually it's a little slower this time of year and it's been non-stop since Monday."
Newlin said business isn't booming by any means, but fitness sales have brought in a revolving door of customers.
"We went through 22,000 pounds in weights, cast iron weights and rubber weights, so it's been a little overwhelming," he said. "We did not expect that by any means."
Signs around the store are asking customers to practice social distancing.
"We don't want to have more than 10 or 12 people in here at once, we want to keep that safe buffer," Newlin said.
Staff is cleaning equipment every two hours and they're trying to be flexible with customers to keep everyone safe.
"We've done a lot of phone calls where they maybe pay for it over the phone, we'll even set it outside we've done that a few times," he said. "We'll even load them up as they pull up and they maybe not even come into the store. "
Newlin said his store hours have been shortened, but he plans to keep the business open for as long as possible during the current pandemic.