Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 9, 2013

Dick Sanburn Jr. retiring after 54 years

A celebration is set for Sunday at Memorial Gym

— For more than 50 years, the Sanburn family business supplied nearly every athlete with shoes, jerseys, baseball bats, trophies and, in the end, traveling arrangements.

Richard Sanburn Jr., whose late father, Richard Sanburn Sr., opened Sanburn Sporting Goods in 1951, is retiring.

“With everything going on with all the new technology, I figured now’s the time,” he said. “I’m no technogeek.”

Sanburn his retiring after 54 years in sporting goods business and later a travel business.

“It’s been a good ride,” he said. “There’s been a lot of memories, a lot of friends. I met a lot of good people -  professional football payers, professional baseball payers and a lot of people who have been influential in the way we did things. I also met a lot of good salesmen.”

To celebrate his success family, friends and others in the community will gather Sunday for an open house in the Memorial Gym hospitality room.

Dick Sanburn Sr. opened Sanburn Sporting Goods in 1951 in the Armstrong-Landon building. The business then moved to 123 N. Union Street in 1953.

In 1966, the store moved to 112 S. Washington St., where it remained a popular fixture downtown for 35 years before moving to 117 E. Markland Ave.

The building on Washington Street was knocked down that same year to make room for a new Salin Bank building.

The Kessler name was added shortly later when the business moved to South Lafountain Street.

Ask what he will remember most, Sanburn Jr., said all the people he’s dealt with over the years.

“Seeing kids grow up and go from Little League to high school and some to the pros,” he said.

Now, he will have time to relax and watch his grandkids play ball.

“I’m not getting forced out or anything,” he said.

“My health is still good and I’m looking forward to it.”

Watching his grandsons, Nolan and Parker, hurling fast balls past unsuspecting batters is how he plans to spend some of his spar time.

Nolan plays for the Oakland A’s and Parker plans to attend Arkansas in college.

“I figured it’s time to do something else,” he said. “Now I can do whatever I want whenever I want to. Maybe I’ll do some fishing and traveling around. I have eight kids in different locations.”

“But, I will miss the acquaintances I’ve build up and the relationships. That will be different. But everything changes.”

Mike Fletcher, Tribune reporter may be reached at 765-454-8565, or via e-mail at mike.fletcher@kokomotribune.com

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