Sports consignment shop opens at Skyline Plaza

Published 9:44 am Wednesday, June 20, 2012

From left to right: Grant Lohse, Becky Lohse, Deb Steinhauer, Steph Schnider, John Schnider and their children stand in front of The Sports Exchange store. -- Kessa Albright/Albert Lea Tribune

By Kessa Albright, staff writer

Steph Schnider had a business idea to help out families in the Albert Lea community. The part owner of The Sports Exchange was motivated to open a store to accommodate parents’ need for sports equipment for their active children.

A corner of The Sports Exchange is shown. The store sells indoor exercise equipment and more.

Schnider’s own kids participate in sports. They have been excited about the store’s opening, and, of course, they liked to play on the exercise bikes.

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Schnider and her husband, John, own the store in partnership with Grant and Becky Lohse and Deb Steinhauer. The store is at the Skyline Plaza, 1723 W. Main St., Albert Lea. Both the couples and Steinhauer live in Albert Lea. John and Grant both have the summer off to help run the store. John is a teacher in Austin, and Grant is a bus driver.

Buying used equipment at The Sports Exchange is cheaper than buying it brand-new. A new fishing rod from a chain sporting goods store could cost up to $40, while a used one from The Sports Exchange would cost around $15, Steph noted.

“A lot of people have been coming in and just looking around,” Steph said.

Baseball equipment and uniforms on display in The Sports Exchange store.

She is optimistic about the store’s future, though. Instead of traveling an hour to a sports consignment store, people in the Albert Lea community will have one close to home.

The store takes any kind of sporting goods or exercise equipment. From cross-country skis to golf clubs. From bikes to treadmills. Even in the summer months, The Sports Exchange will take winter gear, the owners said.

It is not necessary to make an appointment to bring equipment to the store. Walk-ins are welcome. The owners of the equipment will receive 50 percent of the sale once the item is bought. The store offers the opportunity for old sporting goods to be put to use by a new owner, instead of collecting dust in the garage.

“Yeah, we’ll take anything that has to do with exercising or outdoor activities,” John said as he looked around the store.

The Sports Exchange is open but its grand opening is June 23. The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Steph can be reached at 507-369-3955.