A business that started in Lincolnton 30 years ago has returned home after a long absence.
SageSport, which was first started in downtown Lincolnton by owner Corky Fulton in 1982, opened a new store to the public Thursday morning.
Located in the Lincoln Center shopping plaza on North Generals Boulevard, the store has taken over the facility that previously housed Hibbitt Sports.
The original SageSport store in downtown remained open for about 12 years.
“We’re excited to be back in Lincolnton,” Fulton, who resides in Kings Mountain, said, adding that the store had been “very well-received” in Lincolnton when it originally opened three decades ago.
In fact, that store still holds the record among all SageSports locations for the most shoes sold in a single day, thanks to a sidewalk sale during one year’s Apple Festival, Fulton said.
However, after Belk moved from downtown, Fulton said retail business started to slow down, and he decided to move his store elsewhere, first settling on Statesville before establishing locations in Mount Airy, Boone, Asheboro and Gaffney, S.C.
Fulton was looking to expand again when he received a call from the former Hibbitt Sports facility’s landlord letting him know of the space’s availability.
That was three weeks ago, and, since then, Fulton has been scrambling to get things ready.
“It will take a month or two to get up to speed,” he said.
The store is still in the process of building a staff, and Fulton hopes to eventually employ two full-time and five or six part-time workers.
SageSport carries a variety of athletic footwear, college- and pro-licensed products and equipment and accessories for all major sports. The store also offers a selection of seasonal outerwear, including brands such as The North Face, Columbia, Roxy and Billabong.
“We hope to be more of a local retailer,” Fulton said, noting that he has more flexibility to customize his products than bigger chains.
The store is also known at its other locations for its large selection of backpacks, he said.
Fulton noted that he was glad to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his business by coming back to where it all started.
“I hope people come and give us a chance,” said Fulton.