Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Celebrating 60 years of spreading the "stoke"

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 11:45 AM

The Sports Creel is celebrating a birthday that most specialty sporting good stores never see.

Harry Larned first opened the doors to this Spokane Valley staple on March 19, 1954. Throughout the years, the store has remained family-owned and operated – three generations of Larneds have worked there, in fact. Harry’s daughter, Lin, would eventually take over the operation and marry Herb Genteman. One of their two sons, Micah, would follow the family legacy, growing up and making the store a big part of his life. He would eventually meet his wife, TJ, in the store. Currently Herb, Lin, Micah and TJ are the core members of the Creel team.

The location has hardly changed and as Micah describes, “The original location was pretty close to our current location. We’ve always remained within a stones throw (near the intersection of Sprague and Pines).”

Over the past 60 years, the Sports Creel has adapted to the incoming big box stores, other specialty retailers opening and closing and the growth of the Valley. Through the 60 years, they have carried everything from high-end fly-fishing equipment, Chris Craft wooden boat kits and was at one point the largest Hobie cat dealer in North America. “We have sold everything,” Micah says.

But from day one, they have always sold snow skis. “We are now focused on selling stuff for the things we do (and love to do),” Micah adds. The Sports Creel has made its footprint in the Inland Northwest as one of the best special ski and water sports shops.

Throughout the years, the Sports Creel has remained competitive with stores that have the budgets and staff to be open day and night, seven days a week. Herb adds that the last 60 years have been “a survival of the specialty ski shops. Lots have come and gone.” But the Sports Creel has remained a fixture. Happy Birthday, thanks for helping spread ‘the stoke’ for the last 60 years, and cheers to 60 more!

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About The Author

Jen Forsyth

Jen Forsyth is the editor of the Snowlander series.