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Academy Sports + Outdoors: Outdoor Minded

September 9, 2013

If you’re into sports or like the great outdoors sooner or later you’ll need some equipment. One store that you can go to in Texas and around a dozen southeastern states is Academy Sports + Outdoors. Interestingly enough the store started out as a San Antonio tire shop that was opened by Max Gochman in 1938.

It was named the Academy Tire Shop. The following year it started selling military surplus. In 1945 the name of the store was changed to Academy Super Surplus. The business continued its growth which included acquisition of another surplus chain.

It was in the 1980s that Academy started offering sports and outdoor items including fishing, camping, and sporting goods to its product line up. The company changed its name to “Academy Sports + Outdoors” in 1995.

Today Academy is one of the top full-line sporting goods chain in the US with over 160 Academy Sports + Outdoor stores in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee. The company’s low-frills stores offer clothing, shoes, equipment for almost any sport and outdoor activity. This includes camping, boating, golf, and hunting. Academy also runs a catalog and e-commerce site.

Over the last several decades the company has grown substantially. In 2004 sales reached one billion dollars. It hit two billion dollars in 2007. Now annual sales are over $3.5 billion. The company has over 21,000 employees throughout the Southeast.

The Gochman family has always been running the show until 2011 when KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P.) acquired the firm. Academy is now led by CEO and President, Rodney Faldyn.

Academy is an example of a company that started out so vastly different from what it is today. The managers and owners saw opportunities and decided to make changes along the way. It’s a story of a firm that changed for better opportunities and came out a winner.

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