Limit exceeded

Though the inside looks as big as the outside, don't be fooled; the important part is how the space is being used.

“Efficiency is the motto,” said Chairman and CEO of Sport Chalet Craig Levra.

The 45,000 square-foot monster-sized store in the new Town Center, which is primed for its big ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. today and the grand opening Friday at 9:30 a.m., will be housing just about every kind of sporting clothing and equipment you can think of.

Skateboarding decks and clothes?


UCLA apparel?


USC apparel?


Water polo caps?


Scuba gear?


In fact, the scuba section, along with a number of other sections, will see a much larger growth as the new Sport Chalet will host its own pool and certification lessons for scuba customers.

Sport Chalet will also hold free introductory scuba lessons at their on-site training pool on Saturday and Sunday.

Another beneficiary is the rental section, which will finally be within the main store.

The store is now about efficiency. Thanks to moveable carpet squares and easy-to-dissemble display stands, whole sections will be able to move with great ease and items that used to have to be lugged upstairs by two employees can now be lifted with elevators.

Essentially, the transition from summer to winter will be made in hours instead of days.

Levra pointed out that the new store, which is a prototype design, is the proud work of a certain Olberz.

“This is the culmination of 33 years of work by our company's founder, Norbert Olberz and his family,” Levra said, “and we are all proud and excited this day has arrived.”

Norbert Olberz, the founder of Sport Chalet, set up the original right on Foothill in 1959. That one store expanded into an empire of 53 stores, spanning as far as Utah.

Most of the stores are now the 42,000 mega-stores, called “prototype stores.”

Prototype stores are all designed the same way on the inside, to create familiarity and to ensure that the stores are designed the way corporate wants them to be.

The idea behind creating the new La Cañada store was to have a prototype store close to the corporate office (and, in this case, it's literally 100 feet away). This way, Vice President Tim Anderson and store designer Mary Falcon don't have to drive the 62 miles to the closest prototype store.

La Cañada will also be the testing facility for potential designs across the 53 stores and the opinions of La Cañada residents will be held high.

The real benefactors in all of this, though, are the La Cañada customers. The store will have its own skate shop within the store. There will be 200 bikes on the floor at any given time and parts from any type of bike, even the ones they don't sell, will be available for repair. Tennis rackets, skis, treadmills, boxing gloves, football pads, running shorts, lacrosse sticks and up to 1,200 different pairs of shoes.

The opening weekend will feature a number of fun activities (including the Gale Webb Extreme Sports & Air Show, a Rock Climbing Wall and Bungee Trampoline), and sports celebrities will stop by for signings.

On Friday at 6 p.m., author, radio and television host Ronnie Kovach will conduct a fishing seminar. On Saturday at 10 a.m., meet YouTube sensation Zach “Speed Bag Skunk” Ruffo and watch him demonstrate his speed bag skills. On Sunday at 2 p.m. former Lakers' player “Ironman” AC Green will be in the store.

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