Rookie (ad)venture of Golf Etc.
Chico shop opens during a precarious time for business
John Schreiber adjusted his stance, shifting his weight from leg to leg. He fixed his grip, right hand below the left, thumbs facing down, then squared the club before looking out and narrowing his gaze at the green horizon.
Schreiber swung and connected. A hollow “thwack” echoed out as his golf ball hit a large projection screen, with light and sound sensors telling him his stats.
Virtual golf is just one of many features of Golf Etc.—the “one stop golf shop” in the Barnes & Noble shopping center on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. Schreiber opened his store on Black Friday (Nov. 28), a seemingly ominous day to start business. An everything-golf shop is a “nerve-wracking” venture indeed, especially in a flailing economy.
“To say I’ve gotten a lot of sleep over the past five months would be a flat-out lie,” the 38-year-old admitted.
The idea for the shop came to him after a group of his buddies tried to locate some clubs in Chico. “The town needed a good golf facility, something that had everything,” Schreiber said. “I decided I was gonna try to fill that need.”
An avid golfer with a business degree from Chico State University, Schreiber began his labor of love last February, and was already well into the start-up process when the economic downturn hit. The self-proclaimed “hopeless optimist” did a lot of soul-searching, wavering between abandoning the project or soldiering forward, before deciding that Chicoans were “starving for something like this.”
So far, his venture has paid off. Golf Etc. had a decent December, Schreiber says, despite having only a “soft” opening. (The grand opening will be Feb. 28, with a radio broadcast, prizes, gifts and contests for “longest drive” and “closest to the hole.") Traffic is increasing every day with the approach of golf season, which starts March 1.
“Golfers will still golf,” he said, even in a recession.
Plus, Schreiber has some things at his disposal that he hopes will bring in more customers, such as the in-store virtual golfing and the services of two pros, Courtney Foster and Nick Sanregret. Golf Etc. also is starting a traveling club that will visit 12 courses within two hours of Chico.
Schreiber isn’t letting the economy ruin his happiness at opening his own golf shop.
“This isn’t a job,” Schreiber said. “I love coming here.”