A Dink & Volley Pickleball Q&A

Listen to the whole conversation

Q: Tell me about Dink & Volley Pickleball?

A: We are a brick-and-mortar, retail pickleball store here in Opelika. We obviously have a large number of pickleball players here because of the amount of covered pickleball courts in Opelika. We found that there was a need to service those people and the guests that we have coming into town to play in pickleball tournaments. We've been open for about six months. We're doing great, and love being part of the community here in Opelika.

Q: What happened that made you want to start this business?

A: We started realizing how influential pickleball was here and the number of pickleball tournaments that come here and support the Opelika community. There really wasn't anywhere other than a couple of big box stores that really specialized in, what we figured, was a huge growing sport, not only here, but across the country.

Q: What are some misconceptions or myths you've heard that people may have about pickleball?

A: People thought this was strictly a sport for an older generation. And up until this year, the largest demographics playing pickleball was 65 and over. But in the last six or eight months, the fastest growing age group playing pickleball is 19 to 35. Those are the people that are now out there playing. And there's even groups and country clubs around here that are offering clinics for small children, (six, seven and eight year olds).

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself? What do you do for fun?

A: My husband and I try to get out and play pickleball as much as we can. I still play a lot of tennis. I'm on a tennis team in Atlanta that I helped start 20 years ago and my team won't let me quit. So I'm driving to Atlanta to play in tennis matches. We do a lot of reading. We have two daughters; one's in Atlanta and one's in Birmingham, so we do a lot of traveling back and forth to see them. I do a lot of scrapbooking. You know, it was something really big when our kids were little. I think I have over 100 scrapbooks in my house at the moment. We also love just being here in Auburn. We love going to the Auburn sporting events and cheering on the Tigers in tennis or basketball or volleyball. We love being here in the community.

Q: Do you have any challenges that you overcame that made you a stronger person or made your business stronger?

A: We have learned a lot and starting a business with little experience. We've learned what's selling and what's not. We learned that nobody shops in January. But until you live through them, you really don't know. There are challenges every day. Like, am I buying the right stuff? I had a very good friend who's in the retail business who told me don't buy just what you like, because only 30% of the stuff you like everybody else is going to like. And that is challenging. So we've worked really hard at trying to offer the best product, and the best experience. I really like to talk to people that come into the store, find out if they're here to play or if they're new or where they are in their pickleball journey. Some people walk in and don't even know what pickleball is. So I love being able to share what it is and our story. I think every day we're getting a little smarter and a little better and figuring out how to make this the best pickleball experience for local people and anybody that comes to visit or shops online.

Q: What is one thing you wish people knew about your store that they may not realize?

A: We want everybody to know we've kind of got a little bit of everything. Our focus is pickleball, but we do have a few items for the tennis and golf lovers and Auburn University items to show our support. The mental picture we want to give people is pro shop meets gift shop. We've got equipment, we've got apparel, and we've got all the fun lifestyle goods that go along with the sport.

Q: Where are you located? How do you find your shop?

A: We're at 510 Geneva Street, which it's right across the street from the Opelika Police Station and right behind Chuck's Barbecue. You can't miss it. We smell like barbecue all the time. We're open Tuesday to Friday, 10 to 5; and Saturdays, 10 to 3. And we're there a lot of the time. And we're online at dinkandvolleypickleball.com.