History of Sportsmen’s
In 1974, after 50 years, George Ganem sold Sportsmen’s Paradise to Jay’s parents, David & Nancy Cherosnick. Athletes themselves, David played a year of professional ball in the Pittsburgh Pirate organization and Nancy was a physical education teacher at what was then, Litchfield Junior High School. “It’s kind of a dream we always wanted.”
The store was then located in Torrington and carried everything from basketballs to guns. That is where Jay’s dad, David, dubbed the shoe room, the ‘Foot Locker’, but that’s whole different story!
In the coming years they sold the business, got it back again, and then went on to open locations in Winsted and Litchfield as ‘Sportsmen’s of Litchfield’.
What many people don’t realize, is that Sportsmen’s is a wholesale team dealer. We outfit public and private schools, colleges and universities, corporations, and little leagues with everything from uniforms to full gymnasium installations.
In order to focus more on the wholesale aspect of the business, retail was paired down to one location, Litchfield. While at the Litchfield location, the retail store was a great compliment to the thriving wholesale business, carrying everything one might need to play just about any sport.
When we purchased the building and moved the business to Bantam in 2011, we knew retail needed a face-lift. We paired down our team sport offering, realizing we couldn’t compete with the selections offered on-line and in the big box stores, and grew the outdoor lifestyle vision we had for the shop. We have been successful and having so much fun with it since.
Fifteen years ago, we didn’t exactly see ourselves taking over the family business, calling Litchfield home, and raising three daughters. We both graduated from UMASS, Jay in ’01 with a degree in Sport Management and myself in ’02 with a degree in Apparel Marketing, oddly enough degrees very fitting for what we do now, but that was completely un-intentional! After graduation, we spent a great deal of time out west; skiing, hiking, camping and just driving…we loved it. We would have been happy to call any one of those towns we happened upon home.
When the opportunity came for Jay to become involved in the family business, we decided that there was a great deal of possibility that came with that…the business has evolved a great deal in forty-three years, and we will continue to evolve.
How do you choose the lines you carry?
There’s a great deal of thought that goes into the lines I choose for the retail store. Our customers are, for the most part, members of our community, our friends, our family. Between Jay, myself and our Sportsmen’s family, we know just about everyone who walks through our doors. It’s a great responsibility to sell them a product that is not only socially and environmentally responsible, but would improve their life in one way or another.
Favorite family hikes in the area?
When you have three kids, it is rare that you find something that everyone can agree upon. All three love the Boardwalk ‘hike’ around Little Pond. The walk is approximately a mile, a perfect distance for little legs, and there is always something new to see…kayakers coming up the Bantam River, a Blue Heron, or cattails along the path.
The Pinnacle in New Preston is also a favorite! It’s a fun hike…and the view of Lake Waramaug from the top is pretty amazing any time of the year!
The girls also like hiking the trails of Mohawk Mountain State Forest…almost as much as they like skiing it!
Bear Mountain in Salisbury, is a favorite of our oldest, Radley, who is nine. The hike is part of the Appalachian Trail System…it’s a more challenging hike for the kiddos, but well worth the journey! This summer, Rad and Jay plan on hiking the AT southbound from Cornwall to Kent with an overnight in a lean-to…will keep you posted on this adventure!
Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm
Saturdays 9am – 4pm
Sundays 11am – 3pm
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Sportmen’s of Litchfield
725 Bantam Road
Bantam, CT 06750