Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Wilson 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 range from baseball and football to snowboarding, skiing, and ice skating. 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 pickups, and even sharpen skates or wax snowboards. 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.
For more than 15 years, the company’s Seattle outpost has fused the best aspects of a family-owned business and a national franchise. The friendly staffers can pinpoint the best gear for hitting nearby ski slopes, but they're also able to tap into a nationwide stock of new and gently used sporting goods.
More than two decades ago, Paul Fish dreamed up a unique backpack and stitched a prototype by hand. After some redesigns, Fish and his wife opened an outdoor apparel shop—Mountain Gear—where they could sell these packs to local climbers and backpackers. Today, Mountain Gear's spacious retail location boasts a comprehensive selection of gear for camping, hiking, and climbing, as well as snowsports and watersports. Skiers can bundle up in gear from The North Face and Black Diamond, and mountaineers can ascend to new altitudes with Mountain Hardwear apparel. Mountain Gear also houses an indoor climbing wall, and its outdoorsy staff hosts classes that teach attendees how to tackle their first climbing wall or cook meals in the wilderness without having to call a restaurant for instructions.
As avid golfers themselves, Pro Golf Discount’s staff members boast a wealth of experience and professional equipment advice. They are eager to direct shoppers through stores full of golfing merchandise from brands such as TaylorMade, Nike, and Callaway, pointing out the differences between the quality products. They lead lefties to their expansive selection of left-handed equipment, and discuss the advantages of their specialty women's gear with ladies. The master club fitters evaluate clients’ swings with advanced Launch Monitors and the Foresight Sports GC2 golf-simulation system, enabling them to recommend equipment that is suited to the customer's specific needs.
Most of the locations host golf lessons within their onsite golf theater hitting cages, where top golfers dish out expert tips and techniques. The Tacoma, Bellevue, Lynnwood and Bellingham locations feature repair centers, where technicians can spruce up clubs in preparation for upcoming tournaments or a golf vacation.
Fit Right Northwest straps comfy kicks to runners' well-conditioned foot engines for the enhancement of inherent fleetness. An in-depth recommendation process begins with a videotaped gait analysis so runners can get a handle on their heel, mid-stance, and toe-off mechanics. Armed with this info and other measurements, the store's shoe buffs suggest appropriate toe cozies, encouraging customers to take trial runs outside, on the in-store treadmills, or along the backs of sleeping siblings. Options abound with brands such as New Balance and Adidas in men's (starting at $70) and women's (starting at $70) styles, with running apparel such as T-shirts (starting at $35), socks ($7–$18), and accessories rounding out the collection.
The Second Ascent staff works diligently to repair cycles, assemble skis, and outfit customers with gear and apparel for all backcountry and outdoor pursuits. They stock and fold apparel from brands such as Patagonia and Vibram FiveFingers to dress adventurers from head to toe, and accessorize them with essential equipment such as headlamps, chalk bags, and backpacks. Technicians in both the full-service bike shop and onsite ski shop repair and tune cycles and skis to help customers ride more smoothly. And the other members of the well-traveled staff remain eager to assist and answer any questions about appropriate adventure equipment, conditions, and the safest way to tickle a napping grizzly.