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Dick’s CEO shares business’ success story


Edward W. Stack, chairman and CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods Inc.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, launched in Binghamton about 60 years ago, has become the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer, with 900 corporate employees, 21,000 total employees, 389 stores in 39 states, two distribution centers and another being built. Currently set to open an office in Hong Kong, the firm opens about 50 Dick’s stores and 50 Golf Gallery stores a year.

Edward Stack, chairman and CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., spoke to about 280 people at the Harpur Forum annual dinner June 9 in the Mandela Room on campus. He recounted Dick’s humble beginnings, when his father (Richard “Dick” Stack) borrowed $300 from his grandmother’s cookie jar to start a bait and tackle shop.

Stack started working for his father at the age of 13, never intending to make it his life’s work. Planning to go to law school after college, he instead returned home to help his father run the family business — two stores in the Binghamton area — when his father’s health failed.

“I came back into the business never thinking I’d really stay,” said Stack, “but it was not long before I fell in love with the business. I wanted to expand the business. I had concerns that if we didn’t grow, we’d get eaten up.”

Not long after, Ed Stack bought the stores from his father and began to expand operations.

“Our mission statement is to be the No. 1 sports and fitness specialty retailer for all athletes and outdoor enthusiasts through the relentless improvement of everything we do,” he said. “We need to improve everything we do all the time, just like athletes do.”

Dick’s operates two kinds of stores, Stack said. One is a 50,000-square-foot store similar to the one in Vestal; the other a two-level, 80,000-square-foot store that differentiates them from their competitors. Establishing strong partnerships and working with financial backers has made the company strong, he added.

“We were very small and somewhat insignificant initially,” he said, “so we had to create and be great partners and create great partnerships with companies like Nike, Taylor Made, ESPN, the Golf Channel and Under Armour.”

Stack also said it’s imperative to give back to the community. “We give away all kinds of equipment to different municipalities and CYOs,” he said. “Millions of kids participate in community youth sports programs. What would it be like for them if their programs vanished?”

And Dick’s is giving back to the Greater Binghamton region in another way this year. Although the company moved its headquarters from Binghamton to Pittsburgh in 1994, Stack said he couldn’t be happier about serving as the title sponsor for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, to be held in Endicott this year as a stop on the Champions Tour.

The future is bright for the retailing giant. “We’ve had a great run for our business and we think it’s just starting,” he said. “We think we can take it to over 800 stores.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08