NORMAL - Inline skates, ice skates and everything hockey will soon fill Johnston's, a new, 5,000-square-foot store opening next week at Crossroads Center on Wylie Drive in Normal.
The store will represent the fourth in Central Illinois for owner Scott Johnston. He has similar stores near hockey rinks in Champaign, Springfield and Peoria. The Normal store will be near the McLean County Youth Hockey Association inline skating facility at the Interstate Center.
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"The business was started in 1926 by my father as a sporting goods store in Champaign. He died six years ago at the age of 97," said Johnston, of his father, Seely Johnston. "In 1986, we went to skating supplies. It was the only thing that made sense given the size of our store in Champaign, and we didn't have competition."
Johnston said he planned the opening of the Normal store to coincide with the advent of ice hockey at the new U.S. Cellular Coliseum in downtown Bloomington. He said opening of the coliseum, coupled with his new store, should excite more kids to play hockey.
Johnston also makes trophies and awards. He also provides T-shirts and skate repair. His stores print team jerseys for the University of Illinois hockey team as well as the Peoria Mustangs junior hockey team.
Johnston and one employee will run the Normal store initially. Store hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Orders may also be placed through the business's Web site at www.skatewiththewind.com .