Sneak peek of Scheels shows playland for kids ­— big and little | MyWindsorNow.com

Sneak peek of Scheels shows playland for kids ­— big and little

Sharon Dunn
sdunn@greeleytribune.com

— With a handful of cash, the locals may easily come to love this new shopping destination.

That cash is for the kids, of course, as they meander through this massive maze of outdoor and indoor sports offerings to the many arcade games, photo booths, bowling lanes, shooting gallery and a 65-foot Ferris wheel — not to mention Toyland — which should keep them occupied while parents are on to more serious things, such as sighting their new bow, fitting into that new e-assisted bike, trying out that new golf club or browsing for that new barbecue or kayak.

Scheels, which has been under construction for the past 16 months, is now 23 days away from opening. Boxes still cover patches across the floor, some tiles are missing and some departments are not yet fully stocked while mannequins are embossed with sticky notes detailing the clothes they will display come opening day on Sept. 30.

At every turn, one of the more than 300 employees wore a smile on his or her face in the sneak peek offered Wednesday to media representatives. They smile, store officials say, because they are highly paid and get a bit of store stock, making them owners as well as workers.

"I'm excited to be here," says kitchen manager Terry Adams of Greeley, who spent 25 years in the food industry before coming on to Scheels. She happily leads the media tourists to the end of Ginna's Café, which boasts homemade fudge, roasted nuts and signature sandwiches and salads.

Yes, all this and a café, too.

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But like Willy Wonka's factory, little surprises await throughout the store, from the locally made bronze statutes adorning the outside of the store, to the many life-sized wax presidents positioned throughout the store and stuffed wildlife either flying above or chasing each other in suspended animation atop display cases. Then there's the 16,000-gallon saltwater tank with more than 600 fish greeting customers as an archway into to this sporting goods bonanza, where customers are likely to hear the mini screams of delight at the sight of Dory or Nemo swimming by.

A unique feature of the store is the glass ceiling — literally. It is called SageGlass, which helps shield the store from sun glare while allowing natural lighting and reducing heating and air conditioning costs.

SageGlass representative Ryan Park said the stores has 24,500 square feet of such glass installed and it is the largest such installation in the country. Each piece of glass is individually wired to let sunlight in on cool days and blocking it on hot days.

The exterior brick work, lined up one by one, would cover 38 miles. There are 242 miles of electrical wire and 2,400 tons of steel in the building.

On average, officials say, this labyrinth containing 1 million pieces of goods to fit any weekend getaway captures customers for about two and a half hours. There are a full 250,000 square feet to explore. So make an afternoon of it.

By the numbers

27 — The number of Scheels stores in 12 states. The Johnstown store is the first in Colorado.

88 — Scheels’ highest point in feet, which accommodates a 65-foot Ferris wheel.

220 — The number of taxidermy animals on display on a central, indoor mountain.

2,400 — The tonnage of structural steel that forms the backbone of Scheels.

250,000 — The square footage of the store, which carries 80 professional shops and 1 million pieces of inventory.

Source: Scheels

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