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Covid 19 Information

Summary

  1. Our pandemic rules are strict. Our store is clean. Our environment is safe.
  2. No walk-ins – Please book an appointment before you come
  3. Customers must provide their contact tracing info through our appointment request form in order to enter the store.
  4. No browsing – We are a service counter only.
  5. Masks required for ALL ages. No exceptions. No exemptions.
  6. Minimize Risk – Order online – Pickup in-store

Details

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We understand that these inconveniences can be frustrating. They are frustrating for us, too.

Like every small business, we had to make a decision about how we were going to operate during these difficult times.

We could throw open the doors, act like nothing is happening and risk the heath of staff and customers. Or we could set tough standards to keep people safe.

We chose the second option.

We have staff, customers and family members who will likely die if they are exposed to Covid-19.

Therefore, we have adopted a strict set of policies to protect everyone, including:

  1. Requiring masks indoors
  2. Limiting the number of customers in the store
  3. Reducing the handling of merchandise
  4. Referring browsers to our website
  5. Spacing out customer appointments
  6. Replacing face-to-face communications with email
  7. Encouraging online ordering
  8. Offering curbside pickups
  9. Maintaining contact tracing lists
  10. Cleaning service counters between customer visits

We trust that these things are enough to keep everyone safe and we apologize to anyone who considers them to be an inconvenience.

Browsing

We have re-configured our store to prevent browsing. We have moved to a service counter arrangement. Under this new configuration, customers who enter the store are greeted by a service counter. An expert serves them at the counter.

If necessary, customers are invited behind the counter for service. Otherwise, all transactions occur at the customer service counter.

Service Counter Store Interior

These changes to our layout make cleaning up between visits faster than ever. They also ensure that asymptomatic customers are not walking around the store touching items and potentially spreading the virus passively to other customers.

Phase 2 Rules and Policies

Rule 1 – Masks are required to enter the store. No exceptions.

Customers who don’t want to wear masks can shop on our website.

Rule 2 – Customers who are not being served, must wait outside until we invite them in.

Given the size of our store, it is just not possible to social distance properly.

Rule 3 – No Returns

Due to the possibility of transmission, we are not accepting returns while the pandemic is underway.

Walk-ins & Appointments

In order to keep customers spread out and allow cleaning of our service counters between visits, we are requiring customers to make appointments.

Request appointment
Request SAFE Shoe Fitting

Filling out the appointment request form cuts down on the amount of time needed for each transaction in-store and increases the speed of contact tracing should that ever be necessary.

Customers with appointments are guaranteed entry at their scheduled time. They will be alone in our store with our experts for their entire visit.

They do not have to worry about any other customers entering our store during their visit.

Walk-in customers (customers without appointments) will not be served.

Appointment Tips

Tip 1 – Make appointments two or more days ahead of time. Last minute appointments are unlikely.

Tip 2 – In order to minimize face-to-face interaction, talk to an expert by email prior to your visit. We may be able to help you make a purchase prior to coming into the store — which is safest for everybody involved.

Tip 3 – Do not call to make an appointment. Appointments are set up by email so that dates and times are in writing. We do not accept appointments by telephone.

Shoe Sales

Customers who know their shoe size and just want to look at models can shop online and choose SHIP TO STORE for local pickup. They can then try on that pair of shoes in-store prior to taking them home. If it turns out they don’t fit, the order can be canceled and refunded.

Customers who don’t know their size or who want to try on a variety of shoes in-store will have to book an appointment.

SAFE Shoe Fittings

Shoe fittings are particularly hard to do safely during a pandemic for a variety of reasons.

First, shoe fittings are impossible to do with proper social distancing.

Shoe fittings require our staff and customers to be in face-to-face contact with each other for an average of 30 to 60 minutes.

Second, cleaning up after shoe fittings takes more effort than you might imagine.

Once the fittings are over, for example, all shoes tried on by the customer have to be decontaminated inside and out. They must also be set aside for 24 hours — meaning nobody can try them on until the next day.

The area where the fitting occurs must also be decontaminated and the staff member who did the fitting must have time to wash up thoroughly.

In other words, we have to allow a full 60 minutes in order to ensure safe shoe fittings in this store.

We must also space appointments out to ensure that customers are not trying on shoes that have been touched by other customers in the past 24 hours.

SAFE Shoe Fitting Policies

In order to ensure that the proper amount of time is allowed for safe shoe fittings, we are no longer doing fittings for walk-in customers.

All shoe fittings now require an appointment to be made at least one day in advance.

To set up a safe shoe fitting, please request an appointment.

Request SAFE Shoe Fitting

Appointments should be made at least one full business day ahead of time so that we can go through the pre-screening process by email.

We also need advance notice to ensure that the staff member serving you has also been pre-screened and has not had any worrisome contacts or symptoms.

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Racquet Network (Re)Joins Tumblr

Racquet Network Tumblr

Now that Tumblr has decided that it will be reorienting itself as a family-friendly blogging site, Racquet Network has decided to activate our long dormant Tumblr account.

Although our Tumblr account was set up several years ago, we chose not to do anything with it due to Tumblr’s reputation. That changed on December 17 when Tumblr committed to removing all adult-only content from their service.

Racquet sports players who are also Tumblers can follow us at racquetnetwork.tumblr.com where we post regular social media updates.

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Summer Clearance Sale at Racquet Network

Summer clearance sale on now.
Since moving into our new location in the gorgeous community of Woodbine, Racquet Network has been able to offer more athletic wear of different styles, colors, and sizes. With summer already begun, our first ever Summer Apparel Clearance Sale is well in motion, where customers can get premium ladies and junior Wilson apparel for 50% off or more. Dozens of tank tops, tee-shirts, capris, hoodies, and skorts of a variety of colors and styles qualify for this big sale.

“It’s a very exciting time,” says Coach Gene, our in-store sales expert and coordinator of the Summer Sale, “our staff have spent a lot of time over the past three weeks gearing up for this sale, marking items down and displaying them in our apparel section, and now that it has begun, we have people coming in everyday to check out what we have in store for them.”

It’s not just racquet sports players coming in to check out the summer sale either. “A lot of people think we sell strictly racquet sports apparel,” adds Coach Gene, “what you’d be surprised to learn is that our apparel is very versatile, and can be used for almost any athletic activity, from running and walking to yoga and spin class.”

For a limited time, get 50% or more off select Wilson ladies and junior apparel, suitable for almost any athletic activity. Stop by our store in Woodbine to browse our full selection and take advantage of this great offer.

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Happy Anniversary: Racquet Network Turns 5

Racquet Network Logo
Racquet Network Logo
[CALGARY, AB] – It’s hard to believe but Racquet Network launched five years ago today as a network of two Canadian squash players from the community of Oakridge in southwest Calgary.

Today, on the fifth anniversary of those small beginnings, we have more than 500 members in Canada, the United States, Australia and China. We also include much more than just squash. This year we have added nearly a dozen new sports to our long-time mix of tennis, squash, badminton, racquetball and table tennis.

The origins of our growing network can be traced to a broken-down old squash court in the back of the Oakridge Community Centre in January of 2002. Built twenty-five years earlier when squash was a booming sport, the court had long since been abandoned by squash players. Its only use, in 2002, was as a tiny gym for the tots of the community centre preschool.

Nothing is better testimony to the rough state of this court than the fact that the plywood of the front wall was slowly disintegrating. Every time a ball hit it with any amount of force, a small cloud of disintegrated wood dust would puff into the air. By the end of every match, the air in the room was visibly saturated with dust particles. At times it looked like we had spent the past hour smoking cigars instead of playing squash.

By the end of our first year, a wide, crumbling depression had formed in the front wall around the spot where serves would typically make contact. But our little network had grown to 26 squash players, so we considered the year a success.

In year two, we added tennis to our activities and our network swelled to 75 players. Meanwhile, the depression in the front wall of the squash court was spreading like a giant stain. Small holes, just large enough to poke a finger through, were beginning to appear and multiply.

That was enough for the facility manager. Earlier attempts to repair the front wall had failed; it was time for a new wall. With the new wall came new players, fortunately. So we ended year three with a network of 150 squash and tennis players, most of whom lived in southwest Calgary.

Today, Racquet Network has enough squash players in Calgary (250) to fill five squash courts. We have enough tennis players (350) to fill seven tennis courts. As a result, the Oakridge Community Association has applied for funding to build eight new lighted outdoor tennis courts and six new international squash courts.

Racquet Network has also contributed to the revival of squash at the Southland Leisure Centre and the Acadia Recreation Complex. Use of the squash courts at these facilities has increased significantly in the past 24 months, thanks primarily to Racquet Network members.

On the badminton front, Racquet Network is now working cooperatively to boost the numbers of the Kingsboro Badminton Club, Calgary’s oldest badminton club. We are also working with Racquetball Alberta to increase the number of people playing that sport in Calgary. And we are doing our best to work with Tennis Alberta and the inchoate Calgary Tennis Association to promote involvement in grassroots tennis.

Alongside the development of playing opportunities, Racquet Network has helped grow the number of racquet sports coaches working in the Calgary area. In the fall, we had a dozen people lined up to become PTR tennis instructors. Two months, later, three of our members were trained by Squash Alberta as Level One squash instructors. Next month, February, will see at least two more of our members trained as squash coaches.

Has our network been successful? I would like to think so.

I now run into Racquet Network players everywhere I go. I see them on tennis courts and squash courts and badminton courts all over Calgary. In the summer, I see groups of students taking lessons from Racquet Network tennis instructors. During the winter, I see some of the same students attending squash lessons and programs with our instructors at the Acadia Recreation Complex.

In spite of the fact that Racquet Network is a for-profit enterprise, we have never made a profit nor have we have ever issued a pay cheque to an employee. Over the first five years of our existence, it has been our pleasure to act as promoters and cheerleaders for the sports we love to play.

The only people to profit in all of this have been our members, many of whom are living healthier, richer lives because of what we have all created by working and playing together.

Happy anniversary, everyone!! We hope you will stick around for the next five years. It has been wonderful meeting and getting to know each and every one of you.

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Johner Wins $5000 Grand Prize

[CALGARY, AB] – Racquet Network’s founder and executive director, Brent Johner, has been awarded the $5000 grand prize in Alberta Health’s STAND UP FOR YOUR LIFE contest.

The grand prize winner, announced yesterday, receives a $2,500 customized Be Fit For Life Personal Health & Wellness Plan and a $2,500 Sportchek gift card.

Johner entered the contest in mid-December after seeing a commercial broadcast during a Calgary Flames game on Sportsnet West Television. His winning entry described how he “stood up for his life” by stopping smoking, changing his diet and creating Racquet Network.

As part of the terms of the agreement, Sportsnet Television is flying out from Toronto in early February to shoot a commercial featuring Johner and (we hope) at least some mention of Racquet Network.

“Racquet Network changed my life,” said Johner, “and I’ve heard from dozens of other people how it’s changing theirs. With a little publicity and some momentum, we can help change the lives of millions more.”