COLORADO SPRINGS — Friday morning I had the chance to anchor News5 Today live from the new SCHEELS store off Interquest Parkway on the north end of Colorado Springs.
I discovered this massive store that opened on March 27th, 2021, and hired over 400 employees during the pandemic, is bringing so much more to our community than the economic impact of jobs and tax revenue.
The cool things available to simply come and see, begin before you even enter the building. There are bronze works of art, big and small, that are tributes to the amazing outdoor activities here in Colorado, the rich military presence in our community, and even past Presidents of the United States.
Grady Milesko, an Assistant Store Leader at the Colorado Springs store, explained to me, “SCHEELS has been around since 1902, and these bronze statues are a tribute to our great nation, and people that follow their passions.”
Opening this store during a global pandemic is just one part of Grady’s move to the Springs with his family that he will always remember. “It’s definitely presented a lot of challenges. We had to do a lot of job interviews virtually, and we have over 400 employees.”
Once in the front doors, one of the first things you see is a massive saltwater fish tank. Grady says, “This saltwater tank is 16,000 gallons and we have a team of local divers that go in four times a week to feed the fish and clean the tank that is home to over 100 species of fish.”
There is also a huge display of wildlife on the second floor that gives you a chance to appreciate what much of the wildlife in our great state looks like up close, without the danger of tangling with a real moose. There are over 200 pieces of taxidermy on display throughout the store.
There are also arcade games, and yes, the Ferris Wheel, which has been extremely popular since the store opened.
So if you’re looking for almost anything under the sun when it comes to sporting goods, SCHEELS can help you, but even if you just want to visit a fun and interesting place in our community with interesting things to see and do, it’s not to be missed. Grady says, “It's an experience, to take it all in. The Ferris Wheel and the arcade game, wildlife mountain. There's a lot of really neat things to do here, outside of just finding what you need.”
SCHEELS calls itself “employee owned”, because everyone that works in the store has a literal stake in its success.
Grady says, “There are the cool attractions and all the things you can do and see at SCHEELS, but I would argue the single biggest thing about us is when you talk to someone who works for SCHEELS, they will tell you we own the company. What you get from that is someone that takes passion and pride in what they do, and you’ll find people that can help you out with whatever you want in those departments.”
It all comes full circle with SCHEELS commitment to serving the communities that are home to their stores. In Colorado Springs, before the store opened its doors, SCHEELS donated $10,000 each to both the Home Front Military Network and Project Healing Waters. This year, SCHEELS is also donating $20,000 to SHIELD616 as the title sponsor of the 2021 Border to Border bicycle ride, supporting first responders.
Grady explains, “Our mission at SCHEELS is to donate more than 10% of our profit back to the community every year, not including SCHEELS foundation dollars that we are also contributing to important causes. It’s an important priority for our store and our company.”