RACINE — Regency Mall’s major new anchor, Dunham’s Sports, opens today.

Dunham’s took over the entire 90,000 square feet that went vacant when Sears closed. At that size, it’s far larger than the typical Dunham’s store of 50-some thousand feet, according to company Chief of Marketing Al Blazek.

Dunham’s, which opened a store in Burlington in 2011, claims to be the Midwest’s largest sporting goods chain, with more than 200 stores in 19 states stretching from Nebraska to Maryland. Its roots go back to 1937 in Waterford, Mich., when a small shop called Dunham’s Bait & Tackle opened. The company is still based there.

Having 90,000 square feet of floor space here allows this store to have things many other Dunham’s do not, such as its golf ball hitting room. It’s about 18 feet wide by 20 deep and allows someone to try out a new club by driving real balls into a screen that simulates a golf hole. The sophisticated system immediately calculates every conceivable aspect of a golf swing including angle of the club face at impact, angle hit left or right, loft, spin and, of course, distance.

This Dunham’s carries expanded lines of products, said Store Manager Todd Brunner. After thinking hard, he estimated the store carries well over 100,000 shop keeping units, or different products, when counting different sizes and colors as separate products.

A walk around the store showed nearly every sport and outdoor recreation activity represented by a wide array of equipment and apparel. Two especially expanded categories from a normal Dunham’s, Brunner said, are footwear and hunting and fishing. “Field and stream” are still strong sports in Wisconsin, he said.

“The gun counter is bigger than any Dunham’s in the state,” Brunner said. “To see this you’ll have to go to West Virginia.” It is approximately 135 feet long and carries about 1,000 guns. Off to one side is a large, $2,800 shooting blind that looks like a huge tree trunk — but instead, it’s a round room with several windows and a door with lock and deadbolt.

The boating corner has kayaks, canoes and bass-fishing boat brands Old Town, Pelican, Future Beach, Perception Sports and Sun Dolphin. Kayaks remain an increasingly popular sporting goods purchase item, and Brunner said, “We’ll sell them all winter.”

For the cook, the store carries meat smokers and accessories such as meat grinders and spice packets.

Dunham’s as a company is “value priced,” Brunner said, meaning it normally sells many product lines at a significant percentage below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price — not counting sales that reduce prices further.

The store, which will employ 65 to 70 people when fully staffed, is open 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (262) 554-0075.

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Reporter

Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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