The National Sporting Goods Association shared that former NSGA board member and board chair, Jim Chick, has passed away.
Chick’s SG was an original in the California and national sporting goods retail scene, building large format stores that carried a broad range of products from team sports and snow sports to hunting and fishing gear to sportswear and footwear.
Chick’s SG stores were some of the first to introduce folded apparel on tables at the entrance, a format that had previously been the domain of department stores. His stores were known to be well-merchandised and carried the best brands. Trends and brands — and more than a few reps, product managers and sales managers – got their start in a Chick’s Sporting Goods store.
“James M. Chick transformed the small family sporting goods business of Chick’s Sporting Goods in California into one of the industry’s biggest success stories,” NSGA shared in a release. “Chick, who also served the NSGA as Chairman of the Board and was inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in 2004, passed away Tuesday, March 7 at 76.”
Jim Chick was president & CEO of Chick’s Sporting Goods, headquartered in Covina, CA, for nearly 40 years. He was a member of the NSGA board of directors from 1985 to 1994 and board chairman in 1992.
“Mr. Chick exemplified the best attributes of our industry,” said NSGA President & CEO Matt Carlson. “He led a family business in Chick’s Sporting Goods to tremendous growth, and he made sure the company gave back to the people in the communities where they were located. He also shared his time and expertise to help his peers succeed through his work on the NSGA Board. We are saddened to learn about Mr. Chick’s passing, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Chick’s father, Jim Sr., opened the first Chick’s Sporting Goods store in 1949. It was purchased by Jim Jr.’s grandparents, Ralph and Hazel Chambers, as an investment in their grandson’s future. Jim Chick, Jr., worked at the store during high school for 30 hours a week while a full-time business student at Cal Poly Pomona University. In 1968, at age 21, he purchased the company from his grandparents, and, in 1976, he moved the store into an old 22,000-square-foot grocery store while most of his competitors were in spaces between 2,000 and 5,000 square feet.
The move kicked off the transformation of Chick’s Sporting Goods from one small-town store with $180,000 in annual sales to 16 stores and $90 million in sales. The company also significantly impacted the communities by donating $10,000 per store to local schools and sports-related youth organizations.
Chick’s Sporting Goods was consistently listed among the industry’s top 100 annual retailers, and Chick was honored by the industry with the Sporting Goods Dealer Leadership Award in 1988, the Licensed Products Retailer of the Year in 1995 and the Retail Merchandising Trendsetter of the Year runner-up in 2001.
Chick’s Sporting Goods was acquired by Dick’s Sporting Goods in November 2007 when Chick retired.
He loved spending time with friends and family at his Claremont home, Laguna Beach house and Idaho ranch. Although his memory gradually faded as he had dementia, he was surrounded by people who loved him.
Chick was the first-born child of Elizabeth Eleanor Chick and James Elmo Chick, and he had two sisters, Betsy Muenyong and Cindy Chick.
Jim Jr. inherited his father’s love of the outdoors and enjoyed hunting and fishing. He was married for 30 years and had two children from a previous marriage, and includes five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Photos courtesy NSGA/Chick Family