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SCHEELS Gives Back

Making a Difference One Smile at a Time

Gear. Passion. Sports. SCHEELS’ simple slogan encapsulates everything the enormous sporting goods emporium stands for. Visit their location in Eden Prairie Center and the gear and sports elements will speak for themselves. You’ll find everything from hockey pads and ski poles to ice fishing augers and outdoor griddles. They even have snowmobile goggles for dogs.

SCHEELS’ passion certainly manifests itself within the confines of their store. Ask one of their sales associates about anything in their department and you will see their eyes light up. But it’s what SCHEELS does within their community which really speaks to their fervor. Theirs is the singular kind of philanthropy you could only expect from a business that was founded in Minnesota.

“We love giving back,” said Austin Link, marketing and events lead for SCHEELS. “We’ll accept any opportunity we can get to make a positive impact in our community, even if it’s something so small as donating a few footballs. We partner with veterans’ groups, chambers of commerce, Lions Clubs International, and countless other community organizations in our area. That said, we most enjoy working with groups that benefit children.

“Just last August we had the honor of attending the Row the Boat Barbecue. The annual event is hosted by Minnesota Gophers Coach P.J. Fleck in support of M Health Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, and it gives patients a rare chance to forget about everything that’s going on in their lives while they meet and play with Gophers stars at Huntington Bank Stadium.

“I’ll be honest with you: Most of those kids know just as much about college football as I know about nuclear physics. But seeing the looks of joy on their faces as they traded high fives with future NFL pros and firing our giant water balloon slingshot was just about the most heartening experience I could describe. Everyone felt like a star that day.

“Later that August we joined People Serving People and Minnesota Vikings legends Randall McDaniel and John Randle during their annual back-to-school drive for homeless youth. We outfitted 150 kids with new backpacks, pants, shorts, shoes, socks, sweatshirts and winter coats by brands like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour so they could be the best-dressed students on their first day of school.

“I’ll always remember one kid who ran the 40-yard dash in his brand new shoes while Randall and John cheered him on. He smiled ear-to-ear at the finish line, caught his breath, and told us he had just received the fastest shoes he’d ever worn. I hope he’ll help us finally bring home a Vince Lombardi Trophy someday.

“We don’t get to rub elbows with Hall of Famers at every event we support, but they’re all equally rewarding. This year we donated sets of golf clubs to United Heroes League, which gave them to children of military families so they could learn hands-on with real golf pros. We donated drinks and snacks to the JP4 Foundation so the kids attending their summer camp could keep playing all day long. And I’ll never get tired of visiting kids at the hospital while I’m dressed up as Batman, whose physique is more or less identical to my own.”

Visit scheels.com to learn more about SCHEELS’ commitment to our community. And if you’d like to enjoy a festive in-person shopping experience this holiday season, go to Eden Prairie Center to ride SCHEELS’ Ferris wheel, play a round of bowling, marvel at the 16,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, and resist the urge to touch the 16,000-piece LEGO Viktor the Viking.