Herman’s World of Sporting Goods

On the lower level of Laurel Centre Mall, just beside Montgomery Wards, was a sporting goods store. It wasn’t a particularly big store, mind you, but Herman’s World of Sporting Goods carried an impressive array of products. Whatever the latest and greatest sneakers were, you could find them at Herman’s. NFL Starter jackets? Check. Team hats? Check. Bowling balls? Check.

Herman’s was a national chain that did well for years, primarily in the shopping and strip mall market. And throughout the 1980s, the Laurel Herman’s store likely cut into the profits of  Bob Windsor’s All-Pro Sports—the only other sporting goods retailer in town.

By the early 1990s, however, Herman’s itself was being devoured by its larger competitors: Dick’s Sporting Goods and The Sports Authority. Warehouse-sized stores were becoming the latest trend—in just about every retail arena imaginable. In 1993, Herman’s entered bankruptcy.

There are a lot of memorable facets to Herman’s, but what stands out to me most are the shopping bags. The bag itself spoke to the excitement of organized sports—its brand incorporating a range of vibrant colors, along with snow and sun motifs to suggest the outdoor elements. Seeing one of those bags meant that something good was inside—be it a new basketball, some Ocean Pacific gear, or maybe even a pair of new Air Jordans. This is something that’s been lost on the warehouse-sized stores. Do you find anything even remotely exciting about a Sports Authority/Dick’s Sporting Goods plain white plastic bag stamped with their sterile logos today? Neither do I.

Photos: hermansalumni.com
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6 thoughts on “Herman’s World of Sporting Goods

  1. Marg York says:

    They were very good to their employees and the quality of their merchandise couldn’t be beat.:)

  2. I worked for them for many years as Department Manager of Hunting & Fishing and they were the BEST at what they did. I miss these stores. It was a great run.

  3. charles scrotum says:

    wish i could hear the radio commercial.. that jingle is still in my head

  4. Ken says:

    Any info on a pension fund for vested employees ?

  5. JEFF COSTIGAN says:

    NEVER REALLY LIKED HERMANS, ALL THE STORES I WENT TO HERE IN NY REALLY STUNK!! SALES PEOPLE WERE VERY RUDE WHEN YOU STARTED ASKING QUESTIONS. THE QUALITY OF THE GOODS THEY SOLD WAS NOT TOP OF THE LINE, EVEN THOUGH THEY SOLD THE TOP BRANDS, REALLY SURPRISED HERMANS DID NOT GO OUT OF BUSINESS IN THE EARLY 1970 s!!!!!!!!!!

  6. EARLINE TAYLOR says:

    I used to live near a “HERMAN’S SPORTING GOODS” STORE when I lived in Chicago. If my memory serves me correctly, I bought some exercise equipment from them. One not so nice experience I had was when I was interested in buying a Tennis Racket. Knowing nothing about Tennis Rackets, except for what they look like, when I spotted one I liked, the salesman laughed and made such a deal about how I was interested in a “Kid’s Tennis Racket”. Well, needless to say I didn’t buy that Tennis Racket or any other Tennis Racket from that location. And I don’t think that I ever went back there. What the IDIOT should have done was simply told me that the Tennis Racket that I was interested in was for a child and then show me the ones for adults. This is a reason why some stores go out of business. They have IDIOTIC SALESPEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW HOW TO TALK TO CUSTOMERS.

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