Dunham's Sports opens to fanfare, large crowds

Dozens turn out to welcome new sporting goods retailer
Dec. 07, 2012 @ 05:02 PM

A cold rain didn't stop nearly 100 people from lining up Friday morning for the grand opening of Dunham's Sports, Sanford's first major sporting goods store and one of the last tenants to reopen in Sanford's Southside Plaza.

"I know what happened here with the tornado last year, and the way it ripped through here at the Southside Plaza," Store Manager Ken Coral said Friday in between greeting customers streaming into the store. "I'm just glad we were able to come in to this space and this town, and I'm so happy to see that people are excited to support a store that wasn't here before."

But the fact that a store like this wasn't here before is actually the reason many people turned out, which Coral and several local officials recognized.

"I heard that prior to us opening, the closest place people could go was Fayetteville, Cary, Aberdeen, places like that," Coral said.

Local brothers Ronnie and Kirby Johnson said they had been driving out of town to shop for hunting gear for years. But while shopping for themselves and for family on Friday, they said they planned to stay in town from now on.

"I had no idea it would be so nice in here," Ronnie Johnson said, gesturing around the large store. "This is just really great."

Coral said his store, which stocks sports, hunting, fishing and other outdoor gear in addition to clothing and indoor amenities like poker tables, will continue with grand opening specials — including sales, giveaways and prize drawings — through Saturday and Sunday. The store, located at 3000 S. Horner Blvd., will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.