OLD TOWN, Maine — For families with children participating in sports year round, affording new equipment for each season can be a major financial burden. That's what inspired one sports mom from Bradley to find a way for families to get the gear they need without breaking the bank.
"I just had the idea that there's got to be a better way," said Amy Albert, owner of Replay Sports in Old Town. "There's got to be a place where people can bring their stuff, get stuff used, and find stuff that's affordable."
After not being able to find a place that does that this in central and northern Maine, Albert took action. Last spring, she opened up Replay Sports, originally in Bradley, to provide gently-used sports equipment at a much lower cost.
"Bringing the stuff when they no longer need it, getting the stuff that they need, and hopefully making it more affordable," were just some of the goals that Albert had. And those goals are coming to fruition. This year, Albert moved her store to downtown Old Town to a bigger space, because of how much equipment was being consigned.
Albert now has gear for nearly every major sport, available to be purchased or traded for outgrown sports equipment. It's made life a lot easier for other sports mom families like Melissa Soucier's.
"Going to a name brand sporting goods store...who's got the money to constantly spend all of that money on something like that?" asked Soucier. "It's costly when you've got more than one child."
Soucier is now able to set more money aside for time with family, instead of spending it on new equipment for different sports each season.
For some families, however, that struggle to afford equipment can also be a challenge to afford the programs themselves. To help alleviate those pressures, the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department, along with many other departments in the area, look to keep program costs low.
"If families can't afford what we set for prices, if it's out of their means, we have scholarships. Every family has a different situation, so we work with each family individually," said Bangor Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Debbie Genderau.
All in an effort to allow more families to get their children out on the field.
"It's for anybody, but we hope it may provide for that child that can't play," said Albert.
Replay Sports is open weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. to allow Albert to work her full-time job. It is also open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
You can visit the Replay Sports website here.