February 16, 2001
Ed Larkins is glad he’s returning to the golf business in the Cape Region.
It turned out to be a much shorter break than he thought it might be.
The former manager of the recently closed Golf Day store near Rehoboth Beach will soon open his own golf store, Clubhouse Golf, at the same location on Rehoboth Avenue just off Route 1.
“We’re coming back, and so far everything seems to be going well,” Larkins said recently.
Golf Day’s financial difficulties led to its eventual bankruptcy and liquidation, but the Rehoboth store was not part of the problem. In fact, Larkins kept the golf shop consistently among the top four producers in the former 80-store chain.
When Golf Day officials told Larkins the bad news, he didn’t just shrug his shoulders and look to do something else. Instead, Larkins sought out partners to keep “this good thing going,” as he put it.
“I knew this was a great location, and that it would still be a great place to sell golf equipment, if I could just get others to agree,” Larkins said.
Larkins expects Clubhouse Golf to open for business by mid- to late March.
“It’ll look a lot like the same store. We purchased most of the fixtures, but we’ll also be making some changes to the basic floor plan,” Larkins explained.
Most of the same staff will also be back behind the counters. “Phil Voshell, Boyd Russell, Bill Marti, and Pete McCaffrey will be returning. George Hamby is opening up a golf club repair shop in Ocean View, but he may be making an appearance every now and then,” Larkins grinned.
Voshell said, “I think the coming of Clubhouse Golf is a fantastic thing. The people who worked here before created a lot of goodwill. It was just a shame they got caught up in the demise of Golf Day. I’m looking forward to serving our customers.”
Larkins felt that keeping the store’s appearance similar to the prior pattern would be “good for consistency.” On the other hand, he’s also looking forward to trying some new ideas.
“One of the benefits of running your own shop instead of operating in a chain environment is that we can try some imaginative concepts that are beyond corporate policy,” Larkins explained. “We know what goes well here in a resort atmosphere.”
“I want to do a better job with the displays for ladies’ clothes and shoes, for example. We also plan to install TV monitors in various parts of the store. Our customers will be able to keep up with the tournament action on The Golf Channel and the other networks while they shop. We’re also looking into setting up a little coffee shop for people to sit and chat about golf,” Larkins said.
In late January, Larkins and some of his crew traveled to Orlando, Florida for the PGA Merchandise Show. The convention brings thousands of club pros and others like Larkins to spend four days tromping through over a million square feet of exhibitions from hundreds of golf suppliers.
Larkins said, “It was a great experience. It was my first time there, and it was just fantastic. I spent the first three days just on the hardware displays, and didn’t even get to the soft goods until Monday. We saw a lot of things that gave us good ideas for merchandising and materials for display.”
Larkins continued, “We’ll see what happens. I’m excited, and I can’t wait to get it rolling and open the doors. There’s a lot to prepare for, but it will happen.”
It’s nice to know somebody who enjoys their work.