sanburn

4/4/01 Dick Sanburn Sr. and Dick Sanburn Jr. of Sanburn/Kessler Sporting Goods. After 35 years on Washington the store is relocating to 117 E Markland. KT Photo by Jason Kaye

The painted brick on the building at 112 S. Washington St. told you exactly what was housed inside. “Your specialist in sports” called this place home for 40 of their 62 years in business, serving the community with anything from uniforms and equipment, to trophies and award jackets. Coming to Kokomo in 1951 from the small town of Stockwell, Dick Sanburn Sr. first tried his hand as an iron worker, a vacuum cleaner peddler, and a clerk at Loeb’s department store before he found his niche. While fitting back braces for Dr. Richard Halfast, Sanburn transitioned into the role of team trainer for Coach Joe Platt and the Kokomo Wildkat basketball team. Within that same year, Lafayette Jeff High School coach Marion Crawley offered to front the $2,700 it would take to purchase the Ralph Yates sporting goods store, and Sanburn accepted, starting one of the main pillars of the downtown landscape, Dick Sanburn Sporting Goods. Based in the Armstrong-Landon building, he placed his first order of a dozen bats and balls. He later moved to South Washington St. He spent his days fitting team uniforms and football equipment throughout the state, serving nearly 90 different schools during his peak. Sponsoring countless youth teams and helping to expand local ball fields and courts, Dick Sanburn Sporting Goods helped to shape the sports community that exists within the city of Kokomo today.

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