By Rebecca Roth |
SHREWSBURY – For nearly half a century, a family-owned sports equipment store has stayed in business by changing with the seasons.
In cold weather, The Sport Spot does brisk business selling skiing and snowboarding equipment and gear. In the summer, the staff dives into swimming.
Since its opening in 1970, the mission of the Shrewsbury store at 660 Broad Street has not changed too much. “The store still is what used to be a typical service-oriented, ‘serve your customer’ store,” said owner Gloria Richter of the Navesink section of Middletown. “We’ve tried to continue that. The most important thing to us is to make sure customers feel comfortable.”
The idea for the Sport Spot came about when Gloria’s husband, Richard Richter, started a ski club at Rumson-Fair Haven High School to share his love of skiing with his students. They took students on ski trips and learn how to ski. Local interest in skiing grew.
“We looked at what was available in Monmouth and Ocean County and there basically wasn’t much,” said Gloria. So the couple decided to open their retail store.
From the beginning, students from the RFH ski club and others inspired by the Richter’s love of skiing were regular customers. Now, those same customers bring their families back to the store as adults. “It’s fun because we see families grow up and they bring back their little ones,” said Gloria, who took over running the store after he husband passed away 7 years ago. “We enjoy that continuation of seeing old customers come back with their grandchildren. It’s carrying on the tradition,” said Gloria.
The Sport Spot has provided swim equipment to local high school swim teams like Colts Neck, Holmdel, Red Bank Regional, Red Bank Catholic and Monmouth University’s swim team.
The Sport Spot is filled with skiing equipment, snowboarding materials, swim gear and tennis goods with brands like Atomic, Rossignol, Fischer, Roxy, Volkl, Burton, FlyLow, Nike, Speedo and more. The store is also stocked with winter jackets, hats, helmets, gloves, goggles and thermals from popular brands like The North Face and Patagonia.
Despite The Sport Spot’s expansion to other sports, Gloria and her daughter Randi, who is an employee at the store, still prefer skiing to any other sport they specialize in. “It’s such a happy sport,” said Gloria. “I think people find winter dreary, but if you’re outdoors and you love the snow and that feeling of almost like you’re flying, skiing is what you want to do.”
This article was first published in the Nov. 23-30, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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