Best Sporting Goods Store 

Tri-City Sporting Goods

You could fit Berkeley's Copeland's Sports, Emeryville's SportsMart, San Francisco's Sports Basement, and even San Leandro's North Face factory outlet inside the cavernous Tri-City Sporting Goods. All four at the same time, that is, with ample room to spare. The store's sign says it's the world's largest, and while that ceased to be true some time after the store's 1978 opening, it's still damn big. Manager George Maseda concedes that somewhere in Missouri there's now a larger store dedicated to bass fishermen (go figure), but he's fairly certain that Tri-City's 200,000 square feet of floor space have no equal anywhere within California. The shoe department looks like it could hold about five Payless ShoeSource stores. The snow-sports section is larger than some bunny slopes. The camping department could accommodate several hundred fully pitched tents, each with its own campfire. But any worthwhile sporting goods store sells shoes, skis, and tents. The mark of a truly great sporting goods store is its inventory of canoes, gun safes, and patio equipment. Tri-City has it all, with a separate Safeway-sized building dedicated entirely to the latter. Finding the store can be a challenge -- it's a few miles off the freeway in Fremont's Irvington district -- but the real danger here is getting lost or carried away once you're inside.

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