BEST SPORTING GOODS STORE - 2005
Play It Again Sports
Baseball mitts, like frying pans, are most effective and enjoyable only after they've been thoroughly broken in. Wrapping your putter around the nearest tree, while temporarily satisfying, dents the savings account over the long haul. And if you buy your children hockey equipment, cross-country ski gear, and dozens of other sports-related accouterments brand-new, your odds of getting full-value usage out of the stuff before they grow out of it (mentally or physically) are pretty slim. Put simply, there are plenty of sound reasons why the "previously owned" merchandise at your local Play It Again Sports might be preferable to the stiff and shiny sporting goods offered at the big boxes. With more than 400 franchise outlets nationwide (including the 18 metro locations we found on their website), Play It Again has many of the helpful advantages of the accursed chains, without quite so many of the drawbacks. For example, sheer buying power enables the stores to purchase some high-quality new goods in sufficient bulk to offer them at bargain prices--we just paid less than $15 for a pair of never-before-worn cross-country ski boots--and their ubiquity means convenience and accessibility. On the other hand, each location has its own personality and unique inventory, based on the caliber of used goods others have brought in to sell or consign. Some stores have a deep supply of golf clubs but slim pickings for figure skates; others boast a wealth of first-baseman's mitts but a lousy batch of skateboards. But we're confident if you look around, you'll find superb values on the thing you've been looking for, making that next sporting activity a little sweeter--and more cost-effective.