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New anchor store opens in Duluth's Miller Hill Mall

Dick's Sporting Goods will have its grand opening at Miller Hill Mall on Friday, but it actually opened quietly on Wednesday. The soft opening that continues today is an opportunity for store employees to become acclimated to the new store and ma...

First customers
Customers gets their first look at Dick's Sporting Goods in the Miller Hall Mall on Wednesday afternoon. The store's soft opening continues through Thursday with the grand opening planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

Dick's Sporting Goods will have its grand opening at Miller Hill Mall on Friday, but it actually opened quietly on Wednesday.

The soft opening that continues today is an opportunity for store employees to become acclimated to the new store and make sure everything is working properly as some customers come through. It will be followed by a grand opening celebration Friday through Sunday with special events, prizes and giveaways.

"It's going really well," company spokesman Matt Teske said in the afternoon. "There's been a nice steady flow of traffic."

Grand opening hours are 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. today, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. After that, regular hours kick in: 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

A large addition to house the store was built last winter and spring next to DSW Shoe Warehouse. It has created a prominent new entrance and focal point on the mall's formerly non-descript northeast side. Dick's becomes the mall's fourth anchor, joining JC Penney, Younkers and Sears.

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The Duluth store marks Dick's first foray into Northern Minnesota. The nationwide sports and fitness chain has more than 500 stores in the United States, including eight stores in the southern half of Minnesota, most in the Twin Cities.

"This the first store north of Coon Rapids," said Teske, the chain's community marketing manager for Minnesota.

The retail chain based in Coraopolis, Pa., is aiming to become the No. 1 sports and fitness specialty retailer for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, according to its website. It wanted a store in Duluth because people in the Duluth market are active in sports and the outdoors and use the products the chain sells, Teske said.

"Duluth is known for outdoor sports, hunting, fishing, paddling, and it's very much a thriving team sports community," he said. "That's one of the big drivers for us."

At 45,000 square feet, the new store is a typical size for a Dick's store. But only one other Dick's store in Minnesota -- in Burnsville -- is part of a large, enclosed mall.

That's determined by what's available in a community where Dick's wants to open a store, Teske said.

"In this case, it happened to be at the mall," he said. "There are situations where we have a free-standing building. It's dictated by what's available in cities where we're looking to open."

The fact that Miller Hill is a well-established mall with a strong customer base is an added plus, he indicated. Dick's will celebrate its grand opening on Friday at the same time Miller Hill Mall celebrates its 40th anniversary.

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As it does in other communities where it has stores, Dick's plans to support local youth sports, Teske said.

"It's a big part of our mission," he said. "We're eager to start doing that in Duluth."

Related Topics: DULUTH HEIGHTS
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