MEET YOUR MERCHANT: Trade-ins boom at used sporting goods store
Joe Stein’s reason for opening a Play It Again Sports in Carson City 14 years ago was simple: He and his wife didn’t want to raise a family in Southern California.
Since then, he’s seen the economy boom and bust and his store’s wares shift because of it. In the good times, his stock is more balanced between new and used; now, it tilts toward used.
“Even if people have their same jobs and a good income, they still want the value because they know the value is out there,” Stein said.
His store takes used sports equipment as trades, on consignment or by outright buying it. Trade-ins are especially popular with children’s gear, he said.
Anything purchased there also falls under some kind of warranty, Stein said – either the manufacturer’s warranty or his own guarantee of repairs within the first 30 days of ownership.
He said his store draws a good number of people from the Lake Tahoe area, where “it’s hard just to find a ball glove.” And with the snow still lacking in the Sierra, he said, it’s been hard to keep ice skates on the shelves.
“They’re very active people,” he said. “When there’s no good skiing, they’re all about hiking and skating. It’s very apparent that they aren’t good just sitting around.”
Stein sells more than just winter gear: His shelves are lined with baseball gloves, and free weights and home gym equipment dominate the front of the store. But for the most value, Stein said, look no further than the golf clubs.
They typically fall several hundred dollars below their new price, and finding a $400 club for $200 isn’t uncommon, he said.
“That is by far the best value, usually,” Stein said. “Golfers are addicted. Some have enough money for new clubs but a lot are looking for the value.”