Back in 1982, Grant Buckoski, president of Spartan Sports Inc. at 1952 Main St. (at the southwest corner of Newton Avenue), says he noticed a void in West Kildonan for skate sharpening and hockey equipment.
He leapt into action. It was Economics 101 — supply and demand.
"I thought this would be a good market for the area," Buckoski says during an interview in the Hat Trick Room — a narrow back room in the store where he and his younger brothers/co-managers, Glen Buckoski and Dean Buckoski, plus assistant manager Michael Ducharme, repair bicycles and store second-hand, reconditioned hockey equipment, including skates, sticks, shoulder pads and hockey pants.
The three Buckoski brothers all played competitive hockey and other sports in their youth. Their first store was located on McGregor Street.
"But we just outgrew it," says Grant, who was a physical education teacher for many years in Riverton, Man. and later with the Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education.
So, in 1986, they moved into a 1,200-square-foot building on the corner of Salter Street and Perth Avenue, before purchasing a larger place on Salter and Enniskillen Avenue in 1994.
"Then, in 2000, we moved to our present, 2,000-square -foot site," Grant says. "Hockey equipment, skate sharpening, bicycle sales and service are our specialties."
He adds that paraphernalia for baseball, soccer, ringette, sponge ball and broomball, as well as other sports equipment is also available.
"We provide team hockey jerseys for men, women, and youth," Buckoski says, adding that they sell bicycle models for men, women and youth, and provide repairs and tune-ups to all makes and models.
"We bring 31 years of expertise in equipping your team or entire league with uniforms."
Buckoski also mentions that Toronto Maples Leafs bruiser Colton Orr, who grew up in the Garden City area, and fellow Winnipegger and current New Jersey Devils forward Travis Zajac were both once regular customers at the store.
"The reason why we’ve been successful is because of our experience and service," he stresses.
"When parents are equipping their kids for the first time, we’ll fit the children and educate the parents on how to fit them. That’s a service that you don’t get in the big box stores. As long as we offer that kind of service, we’ll be sustainable (as a business). We’re now getting second- and third-generation customers coming through our doors."
Contact Spartan Sports at 204-339-3883, or visit its website at www.spartansportswinnipeg.com
Martin Zeilig is a community correspondent for the North End. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org