Wanted: Craig's used sports equipment

New store aims to fill niche for athletic gear

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Every day, the shelves at Instant Replay Sports get a little fuller, stocked with new and used hockey and wrestling gear, even a crossbow.

Michael and Christine Anthony have been in business along Victory Way in downtown Craig for three weeks. Unlike other businesses that try to get customers to buy items, the Anthonys are looking to buy items from customers.

So far, they've bought used skates, wrestling shoes, backpacks and a bellyboat -- an inner tube for fly fishermen to float in lakes.

They're hoping to get skis and snowboards for this winter, and -- when the season changes -- golf clubs, baseball equipment and the gamut of summer sports gear.

"There's people that want stuff and people that need stuff, and they don't know each other," Christine said.

The couple sees their store as a way to connect these people.

It's been a long time since Craig had an all-around athletic gear store, athletic directors at Moffat County High School and Craig Middle School said.

"I'm not sure Craig ever had an all-around sports store, and I've been here 30 years," said Don Guffy, CMS athletic director.

Although the schools provide most sports gear for their athletes, Guffy thought most students probably leave town to find gear not provided by the schools.

The Anthonys hope their store will change that.

Michael wanted to open such a store years ago, before the couple lived in Craig, Christine said. But with their four children dependent on them, they didn't want to take the risk a new business venture entails.

Now, the children are out of the house, so they decided to give it a go, figuring if it goes belly-up, nobody but them will pay the price.

At first, they looked into opening a Play It Again Sports franchise in Craig, but the chain said they needed a population base of 120,000 to come here.

So the Anthonys decided to try it on their own.

Michael still is working as a Moffat County Sheriff's deputy, and he works in the store on his days off. Christine tends shop the rest of the time. It's closed only on Sundays.

They won't sell guns or ammunition, so they won't be competing with local sporting goods stores. To alleviate confusion, Michael is considering changing his store's sign from sporting goods to athletic gear.

He sees Kmart as the store's main competition, but he plans to sell higher quality equipment in his shop.

From the window, the store looks like a hockey shop, but that's because the Anthony's plan to rotate their inventory seasonally. Wrestling shoes, headgear and new singlets fill other shelves. Most used wrestling shoes go for about $25, as do most used hockey skates.

It's a good way to go for children who still are growing or trying a new sport that they aren't yet sure they like, Christine said.

For now, the Anthonys are on a "shoestring budget," without much capital to spend or new or expensive used gear. But they'll take used items outside their price range on consignment, asking for 25 percent of the price.

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