Scheels in Chandler: Giant store focused on sports, outdoors ready for grand opening

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With the holiday shopping season approaching, the new Scheels store in Chandler could be one of the Phoenix area's newest retailing highlights. At 220,000 square feet and with 500 employees eventually, it’s clearly one of the largest new venues.

The store, which opens at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 30, is organized into 75 “shops” or sections, running the gamut of sports and outdoor activities — hunting, basketball, kayaking, pickleball, baseball and much more — each overseen by a specialist.

The venue at Chandler Fashion Center is the first Arizona location for Scheels.

There’s a sandwich shop, a walk-under saltwater aquarium and a 7-foot-tall Arizona Cardinals mascot assembled from Legos. But the most unusual feature is a 12-bench indoor Ferris wheel offering rides at $1 a pop.

Associates who oversee the various sections are interviewed multiple times “to make sure they have passion in that area,” said Ashley Hahnfeldt, the store’s sales leader, who gave a preview tour for members of the media.

The store also features clothing — including a concentration of Arizona State University items — along with shoes and other athletic gear, a prominent display of sunglasses and a “whole wall dedicated to men’s underwear,” Hahnfeldt said.

That’s in addition to home furnishings, wall art and extensive taxidermy displays — mostly of Arizona animals — in and around a mini armory of rifles, handguns, archery bows, knives, fishing poles and other related items, such as a $900 target of a bighorn sheep.

The employee-owned company features large framed displays with the names and photos of Scheels associates.

There’s also a two-lane mini bowling alley, an archery practice zone, a shooting gallery, barbecue equipment, pet supplies, tents and camping equipment, plus a small sports collectibles section.

It includes, for example, a football autographed by Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray retailing for $750 and another signed by Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs going for double that price.

The new Chandler store is the 33rd Scheels location, with most of them clustered in Midwestern and Rocky Mountain states.

The idea is to create “the most dominant retail impression in the world,” said company CEO Steve Scheel during a March 31 dedication of the facility. “We try to create an experience.”

On average, customers spend between two and three hours when visiting stores, company officials said.

In the works: As interest in downtown Chandler grows, hundreds of apartments, restaurants planned

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Scheels in Chandler: Giant store in Arizona ready for grand opening