Big 5 Sporting Goods arrives

Big 5 Sporting Goods won’t be opening in Oak Harbor until November, but already the new folks in town feel welcome.

“I’ve contacted 50 chambers through the years, and of all the places I’ve ever called Oak Harbor is amazing, everyone has been tremendous,” Rick Gridley, operations manager, said Thursday from his El Segunda, Calif., office.

Gridley said everyone he’s talked to in town, from chamber and high school officials to city staff, have been supportive. “They really talk to me,” he said in wonderment. “It’s amazing to me.”

Gridley admits he may be too accustomed to big city manners. After all, Oak Harbor is among the smaller communities that have a Big 5. Others nearby are located in Burlington, Bellingham, Everett and Alderwood Mall.

But Gridley is optimistic that Oak Harbor can support the new, 10,000 square foot store located at 31956 N. SR 20, near Jiffy Lube. “Real estate makes the determination where we locate,” he said. “It’s a community we can benefit. It’s a very active community, a good fit for Big 5.”

The new, 10,000-square-foot building is now finished and workers are busy installing signs, shelving and other interior necessities.

The store will open Nov. 7, featuring a complete line of sporting goods. Big 5 boasts of low prices on brand-name sports equipment, apparel and athletic shoes. Manager will be Chris Lanier.

In a news release, Steve Miller, president and CEO, said, “We are very excited to be a part of Oak Harbor’s growing and energetic market, and we are certain that our 47 years of experience in the sporting goods business will enable us to successfully fulfill the needs of sports enthusiasts in the community.”

Big 5 got its name from the year 1955 when it opened with five stores. When expansion plans were made, it was decided to retain the original name rather than enlarge it as stores were added. Otherwise, Oak Harbor would make it Big 266. That’s how many sporting goods stores the company owns in 10 western states, including 31 in Washington.

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