Cactus Sports is celebrating 25 years of Sun Devil Pride in the heart of downtown Tempe.
An official retailer of the university, Cactus Sports specializes in all things ASU, including clothing, merchandise and gifts, and every sale results in royalties that support Sun Devil nation.
Owner Troy Scoma is an ASU Alum himself, and he’s been involved in the day-to-day operations since they first opened their doors in January 1992. “My family was in retail back in Central Illinois so its in our blood. My brother Jeff found an open location on Mill Avenue in the historic Andre Building (Mill & 4th),” Troy said. “Having just graduated from ASU, I was still searching for jobs and I helped him open/operate the store during its first year of business.”
The space was small, with only 792 square feet, but the business took off, and by 1995, Troy became the operating manager and partner of Cactus Sports. In these early years, competition was high, as Mill Avenue was dotted with seven stores that sold ASU merchandise, and shoppers could always check out the on-campus bookstore or surronding off-campus stores in the area. While most of these competing business have come and gone, Cactus Sports has successfully navigated through any challenges and remains the go-to place for Sun Devil Spirit. Whether it be the fire in August of 1999 in the Andre Building that displaced tenants during the restoration and renovation process, or Sun Devil Stadium losing big events such as the Fiesta Bowl, Cactus Sports has found a way to overcome any bumps in the road.
“I’m hyper critical of the business. Becoming stagnant and comfortable is never a part of my mindset. Change is good and we are always looking to do things better. Everything from the appearance of my store, the service of our guests and how smooth everything is operating can always be improved on,” Troy said. In April 2001, he bought his brother out and became the sole owner of Cactus Sports, which transitioned to their current location at 514 S. Mill Avenue in 2013. The move doubled the size of their retail sales floor, allowing them to offer more ASU Gear for the growing population of Sun Devils. “The one thing that has stayed the same is that new students keep coming,” Troy said. “Every year thousands of families move in their kids at ASU. To have a built in audience is such a luxury for us.”
It’s been a rewarding twenty-five years in the business for Troy. “I’m striving for a personal touch that our guests won’t get from my competitors so they will hopefully want to shop locally. I’m very passionate about what I do and I still truly enjoy going to work every day and not being burnt out plays a big factor into why I care so much.”
This Saturday, April 15, Cactus Sports will celebrate their 25th anniversary with a 25% off sale storewide, including clearance! Shoppers are invited to stop by from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. to check out the sale, which coincides with the ASU Spring Football Game at 2 p.m that afternoon. Former ASU Football Player Juan Roque (1992-1996) will be in the store from 11 a.m. to noon to meet fans and sign autographs.
Twenty-five years of hard work and demanding business haven’t slowed Troy down. “I’m doing what I love! I’m my own boss, I love sports and ASU. As an ASU Alumni, it doesn’t get much better than that. ”