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Dick's Sporting Goods opens today at WestShore Plaza

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Published:   |   Updated: April 25, 2014 at 08:55 AM

A new flagship Dick's Sporting Goods store opens Friday at WestShore Plaza, and if there's one word to describe what makes the store different, it's this: more.

More space for golf clubs. More space for kayaks. More running shoes, bikes, football gear, tents, parkas and hunting crossbows. At a full 80,000 square feet, and two stories tall, everything about the space is much larger than almost all other sporting goods stores in the Tampa area — at least until the Bass Pro Shops opens in Brandon sometime next year.

The new store takes up all of the former Saks Fifth Avenue space at WestShore Plaza, and the company will unveil a dramatic renovation this weekend to the public. Contractors gutted the space down to the concrete and steel, then re-arranged escalators, built new support pillars and even expanded the already large skylight by cutting a basket ball court sized hole in the ceiling to raise the roof even further.

Up on the second floor, there are several dozen kayaks, several hundred fishing rods, at least three dozen coolers for food and game meat, plus room for an archery test range, huge numbers of tents, coats and gun safes. Two full-sized paddleboats hardly take up any floorspace in the overall outdoor gear area.

“In other stores, we have kayaks hanging from the ceiling to free up space,” said Dick's community marketing manager Lauren DeLaney. “Here we have room to stand them up so you can see them up close.”

Downstairs, there is a “Nike Store” and an “Under Armour Store” just across the way, each one nearly the size of a Foot Locker store in the mall. For lacrosse players, there's a full-service desk to string lacrosse stick heads, and the golf shop has a service desk to adjust and fix any gear on the market.

Dick's thus joins the quickly growing pack of sporting goods stores in the Tampa area. Sports Authority recently remodeled their store just across Kennedy Boulevard. Gander Mountain recently opened its first store in the Tampa market, and Bass Pro Shops will start construction soon on a major outdoor sporting goods supercenter in Brandon. Meanwhile, other sporting goods stores are scouting the market as well, including REI, Academy Sports and Cabella's.

rmullins@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7919

Twitter: @DailyDeadline

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