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Jackson Sports
March 2014

New era for

landmark store

One of the stalwarts of the industry, Peter jackson Sport, is now part of Poobie Naidoo’s top store.

One of the stalwarts of the sports industry, Peter Jackson of Pietermaritzburg, has retired after 47 years in the trade. Jackson Sports, Pietermaritzburg’s oldest sport retailer, closed its doors in February after 81 years and the business has been incorporated into Poobie Naidoo’s impressive Sports Wholesalers in Boshoff Street.

The Jacksons have for many years been leading figures in Pietermaritzburg sporting circles and Peter is planning on using his free time to catch up on golf.

He played league hockey, tennis, squash and golf, as well as cricket for Old Collegians under Jackie McGlew. His wife, Pat, played hockey for Natal, went overseas with the Proteas hockey tour and played tennis for Natal University. Their three children all excelled at hockey, representing their provinces and country at either tertiary or international level.

Know their sport

His father Tim, who founded the first sport store M.T. Jackson, in 1933, was president of the SA Golf Union, represented Natal in golf and badminton, played first class cricket and was chairperson of the Pietermaritzburg country club. The AB Jackson hockey field near Maritzburg College is named after his brother.

Throughout the years, KwaZulu Natal’s sports people have come to rely on the advice, quality merchandise and sporty chats provided by the people at Jackson Sports who played the sports and knew the equipment — for example, cricketers Jackie and Robin McGlew, SA hockey player Greg Nichol and more recently, Springbok rugby’s Butch James. Bob Foss (who played SA Country Districts Cricket) also worked for Jackson Sports and he became a well recognised figure at polo fields around the country.

Tim Jackson’s business partner, Dare Osborne, was a longstanding secretary of the Maritzburg and District Football Association (MDFA). He ran the store while Jackson went to North Africa to fight in the Second World War in 1939 and again after his death in 1964.

Peter Jackson, who joined the business when he was 20 in 1967, took over the store after Osborne retired in 1975. He was joined by his brother Tony and Bruce Baxter, and they changed the store’s name to Jackson Sports.

Five years later, Tony opened a branch in Durban, followed by another outlet in Westville. In the beginning of the 1990’s, they consolidated the businesses, with the Durban branches trading as Tony Jackson Sports and Peter running Jackson Sports in Pietermaritzburg. In 1996 Bruce Baxter opened another Jackson Sport branch in Victoria Road, and due to changing shopping patterns, they moved the Church Street store to these premises.

Later years

In 2011 Jackson moved the store to revamped premises in Victoria Road, which was closer to the CBD. His son, Dave’s, Brand X clothing and promotional gift business moved with him.

Like many other independent retailers Jackson Sport found trading conditions very tough over the past few years. They battled with the economic downturn, rising trading costs, electricity and other price hikes, and growing competition from mass discounters and big chains. Therefore, with both their sons following their own careers, when Jackson and his wife reached retirement age, they decided to sell to Naidoo, who owns one of the biggest independent sport stores in the world.

All the Jackson Sport staff members will be incorporated into the Poobie Naidoo business – with certain sections, like cricket, tennis and hockey, still branded as Jackson Sports. The knowledge, dedication to service, and good relationships with many schools in the area of the Jackson staff will enhance his business, Naidoo believes. Over the years Jackson Sports had formed strong relationships with schools in the area and they stocked several shops at schools like Michaelhouse, Treverton, Hilton, Greys, etc.

The Jackson Sport staff will also continue to offer a racket stringing and repair service, which includes ball and tennis net repairs.

Naidoo is one of the most successful independent retailers in the country - his impressive 6 000m2 sport store in Pietermatritzburg is the size of a large hypermarket. Apart from athletic footwear, clothing and sports equipment from just about every brand, the state of the art store has a 50m athletic track for runners to test shoes, and a High Performance Assessment centre houses a number of specialists to assist runners with problems.

Biggest independent

The Naidoo’s are also a sporting family: Poobie is a top class runner who has completed more than 25 Comrades marathons and is therefore sought out by other athletes for advice when selecting new shoes or clothing. His eldest son, Gavin, who is being groomed to take over the business, has Natal colours for javelin and is a good swimmer and athlete. Sharuven, responsible for their online business, is a swimmer and his other son, Huban, a cricketer.

They also employ top performers in many other sporting codes, who know exactly what equipment or footwear an athlete needs — for example, a former professional soccer player, and top rugby, hockey, cricket, etc. players. Poobie Naidoo is also involved with the development of community soccer through sponsorship of the Poobie Naidoo High School’s Cup for soccer.

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