Sporting Lifestyles has new home this holiday

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Customers Kim Weaver and Andrew Thompson look at deer scent killers at Sporting Lifestyles in Andalusia.

Customers Kim Weaver and Andrew Thompson look at deer scent killers at Sporting Lifestyles in Andalusia.

Sporting Lifestyles is an organically-grown business.

That’s how store manager John Jay and business owner John Tisdale described their outdoor business, which is in a new 20,000 square-foot location at Westgate Plaza in Andalusia.

“One of the things that John and I have efforted to do is to try to get high-quality product in here,” Jay said. “We try to be very competitive on pricing. We want stuff that people are familiar with. To a degree, we’ve done some of that pretty well.”

Selling high-quality outdoor products in a bigger space is the main reason Sporting Lifestyles moved to its current location, Jay said.

“The idea was that we wanted to build a place that was something that would bring people to Andalusia,” the store manager said. “That was our plan. We’re still a work in progress and a dream in motion.”

The concept of the new and bigger store, Tisdale said, is almost like a box store.

“This is a first run at it,” Tisdale said. “We’re trying to locate ourselves in hunting and fishing markets where there’s not necessarily a big box store. We drew the circle at a 100-mile radius, and we feel very comfortable here.

“We’re not trying to compete with discount stores,” he said. “We’re trying to be a much more comprehensive store than Wal-Mart (for the outdoors).”

The new store has 10,000 square feet of show room space. Products in the store appeal to outdoorsmen, hunters and athletes alike.

There are a wide variety of compound bows and arrows being sold by White Oak Archery’s James Ennis. Down the wall from Ennis’s shop are mounted guns and ammo. On the floor space, Sporting Lifestyles has a plethora of brand name clothing for any climate, ranging from hot to cold, and from wet to dry.

The store sells sells Kuhl pants, Yeti Coolers, Salt Life products, Southern Marsh, Costa clothing and optics, to name a few of its many brands. Additionally, it sells Brunton, Nikon and more recently was named an official Benelli shot gun dealer.

Other than selling dry-land hunting products, Sporting Lifestyles sells a broad range of rods and reels, along with a bunch of baits. It has got about 500 rods in the store at one time, Jay said.

“That’s a big number considering we’re so far inland,” Jay said. “We’ve got about 30-feet of salt water baits in the building.

“Then, we carry kayaks and canoes,” he said. “It’s been an extremely successful launch. We sold 45-50 last year. Sometimes, we sell five in a week.”

One thing Jay wanted to make sure people know is that the store isn’t a bait shop.

In the back of the store and what is currently being used as storage space, is a lounge area Jay and Tisdale said is open for group meetings.

“Our plan is to put tables and chairs in here, and a video area. If somebody wants to come in here and have a meeting — I don’t care if it’s a bridge club, they need to call us in advance and we’ll let them use the room,” Jay said.
Most of the wood in the lounge area comes from Covington County timber mills, especially the ornate columns that welcome visitors.

Tisdale said he wants folks to know that all are welcome — adults and children — into the store.

Sporting Lifestyles employs a staff of eight people, and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.