Sports are extremely popular around the world, from American football to tennis. Independent sports clothing stores, especially those that sell licensed apparel, have become more common during recent years. Whether you want to open a clothing store for athletes or sports fans, you can be successful as long as you thoroughly plan your venture.
Determine what type of sports clothing you want to carry. You can carry clothing for teams or athletes of one or more sports, or licensed hats and jerseys and other licensed apparel from various types of sports teams intended for fans.
Name your sports store, ensuring you keep any registered trademarks out of your name--including those suggesting an affiliation and opening you up to being sued. For example, if you want to start a sports clothing store for NFL fans, you couldn't name it “NFL Gear Zone,” but you could name it “Football Fan Gear.”
Obtain an assumed name certificate (DBA) from your county or state, an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS, and a tax identification number if you are required to collect sales tax. In some states, you may also be required to obtain a resale permit.
Establish wholesale accounts with legitimate, reputable distributors of licensed sports apparel such as Big Apple Card Company or Sport Rep. If you do not want to sell licensed clothing, you should look for a distributor of good quality sports apparel.
Lease a retail space that is at least 700 square feet. You will need a larger space if you plan to hold a large amount of inventory or want to have an office and break room in your store.
Purchase retail fixtures and supplies such as a register and merchant account, shelving, baskets, signage and pricing guns from a company such as American Retail Supply or Store Supply Warehouse.
Promote the opening of your store by hosting a grand opening sale, launching an informational blog or website, distributing press releases to local sports publications, websites and media, and handing out coupons to complementary businesses, such as sports pubs and pool halls.