by Rachel Finkbeiner, Staff intern
The search for new sports equipment will be a lot easier for local residents now that the Givens family has opened Elk River’s only premier sporting goods store, Geared Up Sports.
The store located in former LaRose’s restaurant building, just off the parking lot for the movie theatre, was inspired from the painstaking process of driving to Maple Grove or Blaine for hockey equipment.
“We have four kids and there’s no good sporting store in Elk River,” said Bill Givens, who started the venture with wife DeAnn and a partner, Roche Martin.
The Givens family has three sons in hockey and baseball and a daughter in figure skating. Martin had five sons in various sports.
Bill Givens said the store is intended to market towards athletes and their families in Elk River, Big Lake, Princeton, Zimmerman and Spectrum.
Geared Up Sports will be one-third hockey equipment, one-third seasonal equipment and one-third sports apparel. They purchased an embroidery machine and screen press to print on clothes directly in the store.
Said DeAnn Givens: “Everyone we’ve talked to seems excited about it and they’re saying, ‘Yes, we need that,’ so we’re hoping it holds true that ‘If you build it, they will come.’ ”
As the first sporting goods store in town since Elk River Athletics folded almost a decade ago, they’ll compete with R&D Sales (printed apparel) and Play it Again Sports (hockey and other used equipment).
Bill Givens currently works in the printing industry, with his wife as office manager, and felt it was time for a career change.
“I want to do something that I want to do and I love sports, so I thought this would be a good idea,” Givens said.
Martin, a school administrator who was once principal at Handke, and built the Otsego school, got acquainted with Givens through youth sports organizations. He, too, feels he has a pretty good grasp of sports equipment.
“I have five boys in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, so I purchased a lot of it,” he said.
Geared Up Sports opened this past week and had slightly over half of the space filled as of Wednesday, with more merchandise coming in each day. The grand opening is scheduled for Aug. 9.