Best Sporting Goods/Outdoor Store - 2006
Take a cavernous warehouse, stuff it with sporting goods of every imaginable kind, add a staff that's as friendly as it is knowledgeable presto, you have Sports Basement. From snowboards to hiking boots, biking helmets to swimming goggles, brand-name equipment can be had here for we can't help ourselves bargain-basement prices. The pretty little secret of how the company shaves the cost of new gear: It simply snaps up the surplus inventory of mainline manufacturers. (Why other outdoor stores don't do this, we have no idea.) Then, as if the Basement's regular prices weren't low enough, it also offers "crate deals," filling wooden crates with ski coats, running shoes, and the like, selling them at prices below what you'll find at Goodwill. So easygoing is the company's ethos that there are couches clustered in the middle of its stores, the better to help patrons lounge around and consider their next purchase.