by Kevin Coupe
By now, we all know the degree to which pickleball has taken over the country. It is everywhere.
In New York City the other day, it was announced that the Wollman Skating Rink will be covered up for the summer months so that it can be converted to 14 pickleball courts, enough to allow for 196 hours of pickleball to be played there every day between now and October. It won't be cheap - a court will rent for between $80 and $120 an hour, depending on whether it is prime time.
In Stamford, Connecticut, there have been reports that a virtually desolate mall, the Stamford Town Center, may have part of its space converted to pickleball. (Sounds like a good way to use crappy malls, if you ask me.)
Now, Shake Shack has decided to get in on the action by launching a one-day Shake Shack Pickleball Club that in select cities will offer "a one-day program … to learn, play, and compete with great people and great music. Whether you’re completely new to the sport or a seasoned pro, we have a spot waiting for you in our 2023 National Tour in partnership with the Tennis Channel."
There will be an introductory clinic, another clinic for intermediate/advanced players, and a round-robin tournament described as "the ultimate pickleball throwdown.," with men’s doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles.
I bring this up because it strikes me as a particularly savvy way to connect to a popular and cultural phenomenon - the kind of thing that people will remember if the event comes off as planned.
This is what smart retailers do. They move outside their comfort zone when opportunities present themselves, and look for new ways in which to connect to existing customers and attract new ones.
In your community, there probably are pickleball courts. (If your community is like a lot of others, there aren't enough of them.) If so, why aren't you looking for ways to ride this vehicle to greater visibility?
I think it could be an Eye-Opener.