Golf stores have putting greens. Now, there’s a hockey store with a big ice rink.
Bauer Hockey, the nation’s largest maker of hockey equipment, on Saturday will open a superstore called Own the Moment in the former location of Hockey Giant in Bloomington. In the middle of the 24,000-square-foot facility is a rink with real ice for shoppers to test out skates and other equipment.
“It’s truly a hockey experience … one that I don’t think is in the marketplace right now,” said John Mullins, head of retail at Bauer. “We think it is the best hockey experience in the world.”
The store’s name comes from Bauer’s advertising slogan. For hockey fanatics, the size, layout and selection — along with the rink — make the store unlike any other.
It’s decorated with logos and colors of Twin Cities high school teams as well as the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Wild. Its layout is influenced by the way a hockey player gets dressed — from base layers to breezers to chest protectors to skates.
They can try on and try out all of the equipment. There is a shooting gallery with synthetic ice as well as the ice rink. There are no backrooms with equipment. Everything is out in the store with many sets of equipment available for players to use.
For people shopping for skates, sample pairs have the tongue and top removed so shoppers can see where their toes hit and whether the skate will be a good fit.
Families who are just getting their kids started in the sport will be able to find equipment that is attached together and easy to try on.
The store, on 758 American Blvd. W. near interstates 35W and 494, is the second such giant outlet for Bauer after one that opened this summer in Burlington, Mass.
Mullins said Minnesota is the biggest hockey market in the U.S. “We knew we had to come here,” he said.
The company, an Exeter, N.H.-based unit of Performance Sports Group Ltd., expects to build six to eight megastores across the U.S. and Canada in coming years. As it does, the company is also trying to maintain relationships with other retailers that sell its goods.
In the entrance of the Own the Moment store in Bloomington, Bauer has prominently displayed the logos of other retailers in the Twin Cities that sell Bauer products.
“For us, it is not just about selling product here at the Bauer Own the Moment store,” Mullins said. “We’d be more than happy just to simply sell Bauer product. So if that means that they come here, they actually get fit and then they go purchase Bauer product at a local dealership, we are absolutely fine with that.”
Own the Moment will hold a grand opening event on Saturday.