Baseball season is on the horizon, but Dunham’s Sports will have its opening day first.
The Nittany Mall anchor, which will replace J.C. Penney about a year after it closed, will open March 11.
The Detroit-based sporting goods store signed a lease in May 2015 to occupy the 63,000-square-foot space that J.C. Penney vacated in April, according to Dunham’s head of marketing Al Blazek.
“We’re pretty excitied, and like I said last year we know what a big football and sports town State College is,” Blazek said. “All of Ohio is the same way, a lot of good sports towns.”
Blazek, an Ohio State graduate, feels that State College has a love for sports similar to Columbus.
“The overall driver from a gut-feel perspective is we found a location in State College, and we knew that this was the kind of city and community that would love a broad sports store,” he told the Centre Daily Times in July. “It’s not just football or basketball. We have apparel, guns, ski wear, archery, everything. A lot of people in that area are interested in sports across the board.”
He said there is no typical Dunham’s.
The vision for the Nittany Mall is to revive the community center atmosphere that it once had.
“We’re so focused on local community, so that each becomes a real hometown Dunham’s,” Blazek said “There is also enough enthusiasm and support for that space that we’ll have a broad collection of apparel, footwear and equipment. The bigger stores allow us to go deeper with product selection.”
Dunham’s has stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The company could hire about 45 employees, and has interviewed for jobs for several months.
Nittany Mall Manager Polly Welch touted the company’s plans to offer money-saving programs for local sports teams and companies.
“The Nittany Mall is enthusiastic that Dunham’s Sports is joining our family,” she said. “They will bring a large demographic of shoppers into the mall. The vision for the Nittany Mall is to revive the community center atmosphere that it once had. Having Dunham’s Sports will help to do that.”