Play It Again Sports: Local Business is a Hit With Sports Enthusiasts

Crystal Lake store entering its busiest season in the new and used sporting goods market.


Sports equipment is on many people’s Christmas lists.

And the folks at the hometown Play It Again Sports in Crystal Lake are working hard to make sure they give customers personalized expertise that will help them find the best equipment for the lacrosse players, hockey players and snowboarders on your list.

They’ve been in town for 23 years, 15 of them at their current spot at 6124 Northwest Highway.

And because of that, they know the teams, they know the players and they know the equipment, so they are ready to help anyone looking for sporting goods, owner Bob Ruer said.

“We’re a smaller store and we know the community,” he said. “We definitely try to service our customers and give them the product knowledge we have.”

The store sells both new and used equipment.

Trade-In Equipment Saves Money for Customers

While they sell the same popular new items that you can find at the bigger sporting goods stores, it is the used, as well as the customer service, that sets them apart, Ruer said.

For example, he said, they carry that same $150 baseball bat that many other stores offer.

However, if people bring in enough of their old, used equipment to sell, they can just about bring the price of that bat down to zero, Ruer said.

The used items do offer an affordable option for many people, especially those just getting started in a sport that aren’t sure if they’re really going to like it.

However, Ruer added, at Christmas it is the newer items that sell the best.

The store’s inventory is about 60 percent new.

Because Play It Again Sports is part of a chain, even though they are independently owned, they have the buying power of 350 stores nationally so they can compete with the bigger stores price-wise, he said.

Ruer said Play It Again Sports is coming into its busiest time of the year, from Thanksgiving to mid-January, and they will be selling lots of snowboards, skis, ice skates, hockey equipment and more.

They also do sell equipment for other sports, too, at this time of year with year-round league teams, such as lacrosse and basketball.

For those who don’t know exactly what to get, he says they can help too.

They know what many of the teams in the area use, and can help pick out what might be best for a player.

“We don’t want people to just shop themselves and not be sure of what they’re getting,” he said. “The moms who come in and don’t know much about what bat to buy or what skates to get, we can definitely help them out. And the Dads too.

“The main thing is just trying to be at big store prices with a small store mentality,” he said.


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