Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Stores: 78 in 21 states
Ownership: publicly held, traded on Nasdaq
Revenues: $351.9 million (2010)
Net loss: $5.5 million (2010)
One of the largest retailers of golf equipment and apparel with 78 locations nationally plans to open a store near Hamilton Place mall.
Golfsmith, based in Austin, Texas, will move into space that formerly held LeatherOne on Hamilton Place Boulevard, officials said Tuesday.
"Chattanooga is an important part of our growth strategy," said Matt Corey, Golfsmith's chief marketing officer. "It's an underserved market from a golf retail perspective."
The store will open next spring in the nearly 16,000-square-foot space, Corey said. In Tennessee only Memphis has a Golfsmith, he said.
Dan Wolfe, who oversees the mall and adjacent sites for CBL & Associates Properties Inc., said Golfsmith will be "uniquely positioned" in the market due to the depth of its offerings.
"You know how popular golf is," Wolfe said. "[The store] is large and the variety is going to be something this area has not had."
Corey said Golfsmith offers the best brands in golf equipment, including Titleist, Callaway and Nike. The store also will sell apparel, he said.
In addition, customers can try out the equipment, Corey said, offering three high-tech custom simulators in which people can see the flight the ball.
"It's a real interactive part of the store," the Golfsmith official said.
He said the store additionally will have a large putting green.
Golfsmith will hire between 10 to 15 workers, Corey said, and it will bring on employees who know golf and can help patrons find the right equipment for their swings.
"We think this market is ripe for a retail experience that golfers really have fun with," he said.
Corey said Golfsmith plans to open 10 stores nationally in 2012.
other mall arrivals
Wolfe said Golfsmith will make "a nice addition" to the Hamilton Place shopping complex, which he termed the largest in the state in terms of square feet.
It will be near The Shoppes at Hamilton Place, which is expanding with two new eateries and a retailer in a 6,000-square-foot site now going up. Coming are Sweet Peppers Deli, Menchie's Frozen Yogurt and Bath Junkie.
"It's continually keeping it fresh," Wolfe said. "It's bringing retailers in that are popular for the customer and also many of them are unique to the market."