One of my favorite things about living in Utah is all the amazing outdoor activities. I am definitely smitten with the mountains and my weekends are anything but laying on the beach. (I’ve had my fair share of sports bra and hiking boot tan lines to prove it.) With so many sports to try, I’ve had a lot of firsts here in Utah. I rode my first pair of skis after moving to the state four years ago and bought my first real road bike shortly after crossing the state line. But with so many firsts and so much opportunity—come risks. I’ve chewed up my first pair of skis on early snow conditions and suffered through plenty of flat bike tires.
Raise your hand if your intimidated by specialty sports shops? (Don’t worry—I’m raising mine too.) It can be incredibly intimidating when everyone in the shop is speaking the same lingo, decked out in vendor gear and seem to have just returned from the same outdoor sports rally.
Fear not. I’ve found a spot that will have you swinging your finely strung tennis rackets in no time—Scheels in Sandy. (Don’t let the size scare you off.) “Look at us like a big box store with the abilities, power and supply of size, but with the expertise of a small shop,” says Catlin Cage, Service Shop Manager. It really is. From the moment I walked in—the shop techs were chatting with customers as if they’d known them for a long time. And they likely have. “We sell what we build and fix what we sell,” says Cage. At Scheels they deliver, set up and maintain their products. “We know our equipment inside and out.”
The team doesn’t just work in the department—it is part of their lives. Cage is an avid snowboarder, hockey player and biker. “I like ski and snowboard tunning. It’s part of my life already. I feel pretty good at it and I like doing things I’m good at.” Lead Tech Jamen Bennion loves working on mountain bikes.”My garage looks like this shop.” He’s going to school right now to be a mechanical engineer so he can design bikes.
The great part about the shop is their attention to detail on every project. But they’re Renaissance sports techs—skilled in many areas. “One day we could be stringing up rackets, fixing a tread mill and then finish the day tearing apart a bike,” says Bennion. Just in the time I spent with these guys I saw one shop tech finish up a baseball mitt and then begin working on bike. Another tech hopped from sharpening skates to stringing a tennis racket. It’s a busy little hive if you ask me.
The most ingenious part of this shop? They have tools to fix everything. “Since we work on so many different projects, we have tools for everything. We could use ski tools to work on bikes.” And this really helps cut down on wait time for the customer. There is usually no need to wait for a part or tool and Scheels has 26 other stores they can call for backup. “People are always surprised by the speed we get things done,” says Cage.
Both Cage and Bennion love the work that they do and the connections they make with the customers. “We love working with return customers. There’s no stigma when you walk into the shop. We won’t treat anyone like a peon just because they don’t know anything about a sport,” says Cage.
“Yeah, we want to teach them,” Bennion says. “How else are our sports suppose to grow?”
So, regardless of season—because Scheels is a year-round shop—be sure to check out Scheels for rentals, purchases or fixes. And hopefully I’ll see you out on the trails.
11282 State St, Sandy, UT 84070