Tuesday, February 5, 2013
World’s largest triathlon store moves into McKinney
Did you know Texas has some of the most triathletes in the country, with the largest majority in DFW?
Playtri will soon open the world's largest triathlon store at Times Square at Craig Ranch in west McKinney.
The Dallas-based company recently signed a 10,908-square-foot lease for retail space under the Craig Ranch apartments, which will house an extensive triathlon retail store and DFW's only full-service Shimano Service Center, according to a Playtri release. The center is set to open in early May at 7951 Collin McKinney Pkwy., said Staci Brode, Playtri president.
"We already had a pretty strong client base in the McKinney and North Texas area, and we had been in the market for a city that really, as a whole, supports a healthy lifestyle," Brode said. "We'd like triathlons and that kind of outlook to be mainstream."
Playtri already has one of four of the nation's only USA Triathlon-certified performance centers off Mockingbird Lane in Dallas. That center, which opened in 2000 as mostly a place for multi-sport coaching, group training, and event production, soon realized the need for more triathlete-friendly retail options.
At about 5,400 square feet -- less than half the size of the soon-to-be facility -- it's becoming clear triathlon interest has spread around the Dallas area. Ahmed Zaher, Playtri founder and head coach, said the company plans to open more locations in DFW in coming months to further accommodate the expansion.
"In the grand scheme, the sport is still fairly new; but, it's definitely growing," Brode said. "Over the last 10 to 12 years, it has grown tremendously, and DFW is probably one of the most significant areas for that growth."
USA Triathlon, the sport's national organization, reports that about 30,000 people competed in USA Triathlon-sanctioned events in 1999, with more than a half-million participating in them a year ago.
Brode said that though IRONMAN is probably better recognized around the world by triathlon enthusiasts and participants, Playtri has become nationally known for what it has to offer -- its one-stop shop approach that will soon be even more prevalent.
"When we started this, we mainly did coaching and races and production, and just didn't realize how busy the storefront side would get," Brode said. "People who've come here have said that triathlons are bigger here than anywhere else, and that no one else really offers what we do."
Playtri staff is made up of triathletes and certified triathlon coaches who deliver personalized health counseling, training, and metabolic and other fitness testing. Space for retail -- the "gadgets and gears triathletes love," Brode said -- is the biggest reason for the new, larger facility. Helmets, tri-suits, racing gear, and certain nutrition are among the many items that accompany the sport.
Texas has close to, if not the most triathletes in the country, with the largest majority in the DFW area, Brode said. The company expects more than 9,000 triathletes to compete in 2013 events, officials said.
The McKinney center, which will go hand-in-hand with the city's ongoing Live Healthy Texas participation, will likely broaden Playtri's client base while better satisfying some current clients.
"We will expand our Dallas center in the future, but this facility will allow us to accommodate the growth faster," Brode said. "We already have many clients in the McKinney area, they just won't have to drive to Dallas."
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