Decathlon will open their doors of their flagship Emeryville store to the public on Friday after first announcing their lease last October. The past few months has been frenzied as they renovate the former Toys”R”Us space, build their team and stock their shelves with merchandise for over eighty types of sports.
The familiar space has been re-floored, repainted, and the outside adorned with their bold, blue signage. They’ve added secure bike racks and showers for their employees that they encourage to be active and use alternative forms of commute.
“Decathlon hopes to create more athletes by offering not only technical products, but also entry-level options designed to help people ‘get in the game’ and get started in a new sport.”
— Decathlon PR Director Jennifer Tetrick
One of the employees that has been working behind the scenes is Director of Communications and PR Jennifer Tetrick. Tetrick, a California native and former competitive cyclist, empathizes with the barriers to entry that many athletes face entering a new sport.
Tetrick took the job because she so closely aligns with Decathlon’s mission of making sports more accessible to everyone. “I discovered road racing when I was in my late 20’s and I look back and wonder if I would have had the resources to enter earlier, I may have discovered my passion for it sooner,” she noted in a recent interview with us. “Decathlon hopes to create more athletes by offering not only technical products, but also entry-level options designed to help people ‘get in the game’ and get started in a new sport.”
Vertical Integration Model = Affordable Prices
For those unfamiliar with Decathlon’s ‘vertical integration’ model, they design, test, manufacture and sell their own brands and do so at extremely competitive prices. To maintain their affordable prices, Decathlon eschews athlete sponsorships and expensive promotions. They also avoid bulky and unnecessary packaging to reduce cost and waste.
When shoppers enter the store, they will notice brands like “Artengo,” (Racket Sports) “Domyos” (Fitness, Gym, Yoga, Dance) and Fouganza (Horse Riding). They’ll see gear for about every sports you can think of including cycling, surfing, camping, gymnastics … even “Pétanque” (a French version of Bocce Ball).
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Have a Ball Tour Donating 10,000 balls
Leading up to their Grand Opening, Decathlon has done extended outreach with the local community donating more than 10,000 balls to local schools and organizations. To deliver these balls, they’ve customized a classic French Citroen Fourgonnette truck.
Decathlon has donated merchandise to Roses in Concrete in Oakland, Willard Middle School in Berkeley and the Fam 1st Foundation created by NFL athletes Marshawn Lynch, Joshua Johnson and Marcus Peters. “We’re actively making sports accessible for the community,” noted Head of Partnerships and Customer Support Tom Mulliez. “It’s our entire purpose.”
Opening with Cashless Model
The Emeryville Decathlon store will open with and embrace a cashless form of payment with mobile “payment carts.” These carts can quickly scan the RFID chips embedded in the merchandise and total ones order. This model will allow Decathlon to be lean and flexible.
Emeryville Store Supporting ‘Strategic Regional Expansion Plan’
While some retailers have opted to retract brick & mortar stores in recent years, Decathlon sees an opportunity to expand in tandem with a strong online presence.
Decathlon’s warehousing and distribution center is located nearby in East Oakland and is centrally located to support their strategic regional expansion plan. While Emeryville is their first U.S. ‘Superstore’, they clearly has the intention of expanding beyond our city and region.
Decathlon’s public Grand Opening celebration will begin this Friday at 9 a.m. with games, music, activities and giveaways all weekend long. Visit Decathlon.com and follow on social media @decathlonusa for more.