Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been buying and selling new and used sports and exercise equipment. They are keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, Easton, Wilson, Nautilus and Schwinn, make up each store's enormous selection of new and recycled gear, which is replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that ranges from baseball, golf, soccer to lacrosse and football. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. Knowledgeable staffers man each location, ready to answer questions, arrange gear deliveries or pick-ups. To ensure their stock remains robust, they also encourage athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
Top Gear Bicycles' owners don't dabble in banalities. Their mission is simple: "We love cycling, and we want you to love cycling." This passion shines through to the staff, which has more than 40 years of cycling skill, and the top-notch service department where techs can tackle everything from minor adjustments and complete overhauls to disabling a bike's Transformer option. Shiny new cycles from Rocky Mountain and Marin line the aisles beside helmets, apparel, and accessories from the likes of Industry Nine and Giordana, and Top Gear Bicycles provides free pickup and delivery within the Ocala area.
Tree Tops Golf curates competitive fun and practice at a sprawling facility that encompasses a driving range, a miniature golf course, and batting cages. Airborne golf shots take flight at the driving range, where grass tees appeal to those who prefer a natural feel and artificial hitting mats cater to prima donna pitching wedges that demand a perfect lie every time.
A canopy of vibrant palms forms cool shadows over the 18-hole mini-golf course as putters tap orbs across a winding circuit of artificial turf lined with brick rails and rocky outcrops. Two Iron Mike pitching machines lob high-arching, slow-pitch softballs in two batting cages, helping batters to prepare for their next opportunity to ruin a water-balloon-toss competition.
As an avid athlete in his spare time, Doctor of Chiropractic Kent Owens knows what’s at stake when it comes to maintaining a strong, properly functioning spine. At Dr. Owens’s own advanced chiropractic center, Core Family Health and Wellness, he puts his years of education—both on the field and in the classroom—to use as he gently adjusts spines and soothes aching muscles with massage therapy.
Though it is highly sanitized and filled with a dizzying array of advanced equipment, the ivory-toned clinic maintains a warm, non-intimidating atmosphere. This may be due to Dr. Owens’s friendly smile and demeanor as he sits behind the controls of a NASA-certified nerve-analysis machine or patiently explains to terrified clients why their x-rays look a lot like skeletons. Committed to holistic well-being, Dr. Owens also offers a weight-loss program that focuses on quickly pinching waistlines without relying on a crash diet. His doors remain open to clients with questions, and he even hosts a series of patient-appreciation events aptly entitled Dinner with the Doc.
Spokes have populated the space around 1630 West University Avenue for 65 years, turning stoically as numerous bike shops have come and gone. The spot’s newest cycling incarnation, Chain Reaction Bike Shop, owes its staying power to owner Raleigh Faust and his staff of experts who cater to collegiate commuters, recreational cyclists, and serious athletes alike. Inside the unvarnished wooden storefront, rows of rides from Scott, Jamis Bicycles, and Surly await ownership. Every bike purchased at the shop comes with a lifetime of free service adjustments, making owning a bike as hassle-free as combing a hairless cat. Technicians see to these new rides, taking more than a dozen measurements for individualized fittingsand performing maintenance services that range from spot repairs to comprehensive tune-ups.
At West End Golf Club, the 3,940-yard executive golf course, driving range, and putting green are all fully lit, allowing players to tee it up during the day or night. Scott Dombeck oversees the pro shop, which has been arming golfers with equipment from brands such as TaylorMade, Ping, and Wilson for more than 30 years. The shop also helps golfers shave strokes with custom club repair, private and group golf instruction, and associations for men and women.