Ryan Austad said the location of the family-owned retailer's new Rapid City store is, as golfers would say, a good lie.
The newest of the Sioux Falls-based retailer's stores is planned for a spring opening near the intersection of East Anamosa and Lacrosse streets in north Rapid City.
“We’ll be a 7-iron away from Scheels and a pitching wedge from Walmart,” said Austad, a third-generation member of the company started in 1963 in Sioux Falls by his grandfather, Oscar Austad.
Austad’s has overcome the seasonal nature of golf in a northern-tier state, first with one of the first catalog-sale operations dating back to the 1960s, and now with a strong online retail presence, augmenting stores centered around eastern South Dakota.
Some, however, might be wondering why it took 56 years for Austad’s to open a location on the western end of their home state. It’s not that people haven’t asked.
“We have stores all over the Midwest, and for years and years people have said, ‘Come to Rapid. Come out to the Black Hills,'” said Austad, whose father, Dave Austad, serves as company CEO.
“We are really excited to finally get out there,” he said.
When the Rapid City Austad’s opens at 532 E. Anamosa St., it will be the company’s ninth and western-most location, joining the flagship store in Sioux Falls as the only South Dakota stores.
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Austad’s also operates three Nebraska stores, two in Omaha and one in Lincoln. Its North Dakota stores are in Fargo and Grand Forks. Locations in Iowa include Cedar Rapids and Sioux City, along with a store in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Austad’s specialty is custom-fitting clubs and accessories for customers, offering a wide selection of golf gear, accessories and apparel both in-store and online as, Ryan said, the oldest family-owned golf retailer in the nation and a Golf Digest Top 100 fitter.
The new store will feature two dedicated fitting studios with state-of-the-art golf-shot monitors to measure parameters including distance, shot dispersion and launch trajectory.
“We’ll have every club under the sun that we can build for you, to your spec, for your size, swing and ability,” Austad said. “We’ll build it right there, we’ll let you hit it and the data will show the yardage gains you’re getting.”
The store will also include an indoor putting green, where customers can hone their short-game skills, and have putters custom-fitted. Some customers just like to come in and putt around over lunch hour, he said.
“We try to build these stores so it’s kind of the golfer’s dream. You can come in and try anything and have the latest technology to dial in the clubs and equipment so you can play better golf,” he said.
Renovation of the former Blockbuster Video store begins this week.
Target date for opening, weather and other foibles of construction permitting, is April 1.