A local sporting goods store is adding to its repertoire.
In less than six months, MC Sports, 603 N. Belt Highway, will unveil another, much larger side to its business that includes outdoor lines.
“We are going to double our floor space size, and in the process we will be carrying firearms, archery, fishing, hunting, clothing, functional apparel, everything,” said Lee Worley, store manager.
Crews already have opened up the nearly 5,000 square feet at the rear of the store. The site once was used for another business and was the loading area for MC Sports. The sporting goods store will not occupy the entire space. Worley said that once the remodel is complete, customers can walk in through the front door and see all the way to the back.
“If everything goes according to plan, we should have a grand reopening in March,” Worley said.
MC Sports has been in St. Joseph for about 15 years. The company opened its first location in 1946 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the time, the store offered everything from men’s clothing to military surplus, according to the company’s website. In 1962, the company began to focus solely on sporting gear and apparel.
There are nearly 70 stores in seven states throughout the Midwest. As many as 50 stores already have switched to the new model, which includes outdoor sporting goods and apparel.
“I think this is a great market,” Worley said. “People come from all over the world to hunt in Northwest Missouri. For our company to have other locations that did carry firearms, I think it just made sense to be here.”
Worley said he plans to at least double his staff with the expansion, including bringing in individuals with expert knowledge of hunting, fishing and firearms. Currently, there are 11 employees.
The growth is good news for the immediate shopping area, too. Hastings closed next door at the end of last week.
“Obviously it’s good for business to have successful businesses near you,” Worley said. “The more foot traffic, the more people who come to visit, you’re going to get those pull overs. Hastings leaving is a hole and we certainly loved having Hastings there. They will be difficult to replace, but hopefully they will find somebody and something will go in there.”
There are thriving stores in the area. Worley said his staff sees customers with grandchildren walk in after shopping at Jo-Ann Fabrics and husbands who browse the store while their significant other gets her nails done across the street.