Karlan Jessen was a busy mother of two boys who were involved in nearly every sport imaginable. More than seven years ago, her inspiration to open a unique business was sparked by the discarded sports gear cluttering her basement.
Her friends and fellow moms had similar space shortages thanks to sports gear no longer used by their children.
“A lot of sporting goods have an emotional connection,” Jessen said.
Jessen and her friends gathered their gear to sell, and in one weekend she accumulated enough stuff to put in a store.
Seven years later, her business idea, Playback Sports, is booming. With 5,000 consigners across two stores, Playback Sports provides an option to Craigslist.org or garage sales for purchasing used sporting goods.
The Playback Sports consignment store opened last month at 105 E. Stewart Avenue in Puyallup, and offers equipment from team sports to outdoor adventure gear.
“We have a lot of people who bring in their old stuff and trade up,” Jessen said. “Ninety percent of everything we sell is on consignment.”
With one location in the Proctor neighborhood in Tacoma and the latest Puyallup store, Playback Sports now features twice as much product as it did there was just one store.
Jessen has her master’s in business administration in sustainable business, previously worked for nine years at REI, and has helped organize large scale events such as Seattle’s Sea Fair and cycling races.
“My whole career has been sports oriented,” she said. “I love the outdoors, and I love getting the experience of operating in a retail space.”
With the goal to recirculate sports gear locally, Jessen says her family-owned-and-operated business is reducing the environmental impact on manufacturing clothing and sports equipment.
“There’s something here for everyone in the community,” she said. “We have high quality used sporting goods at great prices. We price everything so you can’t find it anywhere like Amazon.com or Overstock.com for cheaper.”
Next for Jessen, she hopes to start weekly bike rides and hikes from the store. She also hopes to start renting out camping gear in the coming months as well.