International family-owned sporting goods designer, Decathlon, is set to open the first of its kind Sports Hub in Bryanston, Johannesburg, in July 2021.
Founded in 1976, the France-based company now has 2080 stores in 56 countries and is unique in that they own 20 in-house brands. With a dedicated product development and design team, the second-largest Research and Development Team in France after Renault, Decathlon is constantly innovating and register on average 40 patents per year.
As sports activists, Decathlon has successfully met a need in the South African market, having opened four classic stores in Johannesburg since their arrival in South Africa in 2017. Decathlon believes that quality sporting goods should be accessible to the many; being the beginner, intermediate, passionate and advanced, by being sold at a fair price.
Now with further expansion, the Decathlon Bryanston Sports Hub’s innovative approach offers customers a completely new experience in a highly competitive retail market. The Hub encompasses two storeys of retail space, a third storey with a wellness, strength and conditioning gym, as well as the convenience of 160 undercover parking bays.
“Each of our brands is dedicated to a specific sport or practice and designed for each skill level. We reinvest our profits into research and development, helping to give accessibility to sport,” says Xavier Paolozzi, CEO of Decathlon South Africa. “Our brands are tested and validated in real-life conditions by our technical partners. During these mission tests, we ensure they are reliable, safe and adapted to each specific usage.”
The classic stores in Alberton, Boksburg, Roodepoort and Centurion, each home to the apparel and equipment of 60 sports, have an adjacent playground for customers to gather and enjoy their sport of choice and test the Decathlon products. Professionals, customers and teammates are able to utilise this space, often holding coaching clinics, soccer games, workshops etc. “We innovate to champion the athlete in everyone, our everyday heroes. Whatever the barrier to participation, we innovate to overcome it,” adds Paolozzi.
“The Sports Hub will enable sporting communities to connect and share in similar experiences from all levels of competency,” adds Paolozzi. Decathlon aims to partner with smaller local businesses and entrepreneurs that share similar values in a healthy lifestyle and a passion for sport, to give them a space to help boost them in their entrepreneurial journey.
Key partnerships have also been established with trusted brands such as Biogen, Garmin and others, who will occupy their own “store within a store” concept. In addition, a Café owned by a South African sporting hero will supply healthy snack options. Owned by four-time South African Powerlifting champion and multiple national record holder, Pia Marangoni, Lift Coffee Co. is sure to be a popular watering hole for Decathlon regulars.
We Flow Yoga, will offer group classes, and is headed up by three graduates from Yoga4Alex, that use the sporting practice to help students living in townships alleviate stress and break out of the cycle of poverty as they learn to take thoughtful control of their bodies and choices. We Flow Yoga will offer yoga classes in the Decathlon outdoor entrance arcade to interested participants, for a small fee to cover their township initiatives of looking after moms and children in need.
Further exciting innovations within the Sports Hub are two large transport containers, with strong symbolism lying in community upliftment, innovation and sustainability. On entry, the fully solar-powered community container utilising local resources, becomes a sports equipment washing and sports merchandise alteration and repair station, run by previously disadvantaged members of the surrounding community.
Mama Fifi, owner of Fifi’s Veggie Farmacy, will be selling her organic produce of fresh fruit, fruit juices and vegetables, grown on her Bertram Inner City Farm, from the community container. Her mission is to promote a healthy and nourishing lifestyle to families and to educate consumers on food nutrition.
As the world’s largest sports retailer, satisfied or satisfied is a simple yet powerful promise Decathlon makes to their customers, reflected in their 365-day return policy and 2-year warranty on their products. Decathlon also offers a corporate gifting and branding service as well as wholesale opportunities to resellers who align with the company’s ethos. The online store ships nationally.
You can find Decathlon Sports Hub at the corner of William Nicol Drive and Wedgewood Link Drive, Bryanston, Sandton.
First published on MenStuff.co.za.