When Joshua Karam and Erika Mozes entered Joanne Sharpley’s Source for Sports in its dying days to shop for skis, the entrepreneurs saw possibility.
With Haliburton about to lose its only full-service sporting goods store, they decided they would fill that void. Just a few weeks after Sharpley’s closed for good, they opened the 900-square-foot Delancey Sports Dec. 12 at 162 Highland St.
“When we saw the opportunity for Delancey Sports, it really was a no-brainer,” Karam said. “We felt there was going to be great trends in the outdoor enthusiast space that would continue through 2021 and into the future.”
The new shop features a full range of goods, including skis, snowshoes, hockey equipment and a skate sharpener purchased from Sharpley’s.
The pair are originally from Ottawa, but previously lived split between Toronto and New York City. From there they ran Hyr, a ride-share company for shift workers. But they moved to Haliburton full-time in the summer, deciding to settle instead of renting properties as they had for years.
Source for Sports was on the market for two years as its owner sought to retire, but ultimately went unsold. Karam said the store was already winding down by the time they came across it.
“We only came to discover Sharpley’s 10 days before they closed,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t a realistic, I think, opportunity [to purchase it].”
Still, the pair said they appreciated the legacy of the 29-year-old establishment and took some parts of it – including their director of store operations, Cindy Nesbitt, who worked at Sharpley’s beforehand.
“We’re very fortunate for what Sharpley’s has done to pave a good path, if you will, and create a great opportunity for a successor,” Karam said.
“It is surreal,” Nesbitt said about her job move. “It’s great to know that I’m in a spot where the community needs us … It’s been busy but it’s been an amazing journey so far.”
Despite the challenges the Haliburton’s previous sports source had finding a buyer, Karam said they do not see any risk in their venture, adding it takes a special type of person to enter the brick-and-mortar retail sector.
“You have to have tenacity, you have to be really all-in on that so it doesn’t surprise me the store could be up for sale for some time and not be purchased,” he said. “What we really wanted to do was bring a new approach to the sporting goods space.”
“Haliburton County itself is a sport-oriented town,” Nesbitt said, describing a sports shop as a necessity for the community. “I’m so happy with that enthusiasm we’ve had thus far in our first week and look forward to seeing more new and familiar faces.”