Second Place: Green Top
Third Place: Disco Sports
From baseball bats, golf clubs, running shoes, fishing and hunting gear — being all things in all sports isn't easy. Tom McAlorum, the district manager overseeing five area Dick's Sporting Goods, says that aside from corporate training, his staff keeps up with trade journals covering things as varied as tennis and Blue Ridge Mountain hiking. The staff "has a passion for what the customers like to do and we do a lot of research," he says. Pittsburgh-based Dick's has more than 500 stores, so the formula works. Green Top, by contrast, primarily is a hunting and fishing place and has moved to a new store near Ashland, in the space vacated by Gander Mountain. We won't mention the irony of the local Green Top not only outlasting a national chain, but also taking over the dead space it left behind. Locally owned Disco Sports in Henrico County, open since 1970, sells athletic apparel and shoes like the rest, but has carved out a niche specializing in team sports.