There's a war being waged in Thomson.
In early November, Hibbett Sports, a nationally owned sporting goods chain, opened up a store in the Wal-Mart shopping center in Thomson.
Ho hum, right? Not so.
With the addition of Hibbett Sports, the number of sporting goods stores in Thomson becomes three. With all of this selection, consumers are probably asking: "Which one is the best? What does each offer?"
Big Dawg and Thomson Sporting Goods and Trophies emphasize their ability to customize items. As a result, they perform a lot of local services, including working with local schools.
The manager of Thomson Sporting Goods and Trophies, Dick Fellers, thought his store offered certain services that the other stores couldn't. Thomson Sporting Goods and Trophies has been in business since 1977.
"We do four services and we do them in-store. We do trophies, awards, engravings, and frame printing. We also do embroidery, and we use computer assisted design," he said. "We can do stuff very quickly. What sets us apart is that we can do a tremendous amount of customizing."
Big Dawg, however, also performs custom work..
"We tend to cater to the high school. We do things like trophies, embroidery, and screen printing," co-owner and manager Robert Brown said.
"Our store environment and our custom work set us apart," added Mr. Brown, a former baseball player and coach.
Hibbett Sports, however, is a completely different animal. While Big Dawg and Thomson Sporting Goods and Trophies carry nationally licensed merchandise, Hibbett Sports stresses shoes, popular clothing lines such as Fubu and Phat Farm, and nationally licensed collegiate and professional merchandise.
However, Todd Ware, the manager of Hibbett Sports, doesn't think his store deserves a reputation as being unconcerned with local matters.
"The local thing gets blown up. Every one of my staff is a local resident. I consider myself local," he said.
Hibbett Sports does not offer custom work on its items.
So why shop at Hibbett Sports?
"It's basically a selection you would get in a mall," Mr. Ware said. "We offer stuff that people would have to go to Augusta to get. We're offering a service that Thomson residents need so they don't have to battle the traffic of Augusta."
All three managers don't see any problem with having three sporting goods stores in Thomson.
"It (the presence of three stores) tells me that Thomson is growing," Mr. Fellers said. "You have to look at it from that standpoint."
So maybe it's not a war after all. Instead, it's just a friendly competition.
* New year means big changes for McDuffie County
* New businesses have come to the county
* Three sporting goods stores compete for business
* Augusta Tech's Thomson Campus opens Monday
* McDuffie County's Animal Shelter is a furry success
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