Howard’s Athletic Goods to Close after 74 Years

The Missouri-based retailer will close its doors this summer.

Right off of the Mississippi River and directly southeast of Missouri State University sits Howard’s Athletic Goods in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. After serving the greater area with trophies and sporting goods for the last 74 years, Howard’s plans to close this summer. Owner Terry Slattery is ready to retire after working there for 35 years.

Howard’s was founded in 1945 by B.I. Howard, and the first employees were Paul Bray and Frank McClanahan. Over time, it became the place to go for athletic gear and provided local schools as well as Southeast Missouri State University with apparel, swim caps, trophies, and more. As times changed, so did Howard’s. Slattery, who purchased the shop in 2013 and is now the sole employee, remembers a time when the shop had up to 15 employees.

Slattery first started working at Howard’s in 1984. “At that time, we were a full-line sporting goods store,” he explains. A popular service the shop provided was embroidering letterman jackets. It even sold canoes for a while. Howard’s also had men and women’s clothing departments, along with selling trophies and plaques.

According to Slattery, the shop’s original engraving machine was a pantograph. In the ’80s, it purchased its first computerized engraving machine, a Dahlgren Wizard (4″ X 6″ engraving area). The next engraving machine purchased was a Xenetech 1313 in 1999. The current machine in use at the shop is the Epilog mini 40 watt 12″ X 24″ machine.

“My favorite part of working for Howard’s was meeting and helping all the people that came through our doors for the last 35 years and being mentored by Mr. Paul Bray, who taught me the importance of customer service,” Slattery states.

Flattery plans to sell the merchandise and equipment before the start of summer. For more information, visit howardsathleticgoods.com.

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Julia Schroeder

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