As I was heading down Watson the other day, I couldn’t help but notice the “store closing” signs around Johnny Mac’s. And, they’ve announced they will close soon. It’s a shame but we all know that change is inevitable and it’s just time.
I can remember visiting the Watson store in Sunset Hills when I was a kid. My dad bought my first and second baseball gloves there, and an awesome aluminum Easton bat. My dad wasn’t exactly into any sort of sports, but that was the cool thing about Johnny Mac’s and it’s something that is missing from the retail world today. In the late 80’s, you could still go to a retail store and the person who greeted you in the store actually knew a lot about the products the stores sold. I try to bring that back with our real estate brokerage, for example, I wrote a post about knowing what your product is as a real estate agent.
Johnny Mac’s managed to outlast many other competitors in St. Louis. Remember The Sports Authority? They didn’t sell Nike shoes…it was weird. Remember Omni Sports? What about MC Sports? All are gone, and none outlasted Johnny Mac’s. I think I know why though..Johnny Mac’s had an awesome team division that printed jerseys for what seemed like every sporting organization in town.
When I graduated from college in the Early 2000’s, I actually got a job at the Johnny Mac’s location in Ballwin. The brothers who owned Johnny Mac’s were always very nice to me, and I appreciated it because I don’t think I was really cut out for retail. When people would pay with their credit cards, I would usually forget to give them back. This would cause an issue as 3 or 4 hours later nervous buyers would ask me if I’d seen their credit card. Then I had to tell them that I forgot to give it back.
I wasn’t very good at stocking the shelves either. I don’t know that it was all my fault…some of the things we had on racks didn’t seem like they should be on racks, rather shelves. For example, I don’t know how to hang a pair of shoulder pads for hockey. It just looks bad on the rack. Also, I was ok on baseball having spent years at Affton Athletic Association , but I didn’t really know a lot about youth hockey or football. Looking back, it’s amazing that I managed to stay employed!
Goodbye Johnny Mac’s. I’m sorry to see it end, but I am thankful that I was a small part of what will always be a fondly remembered, family sporting goods store in St. Louis.