Johnson’s Sporting Goods began in 1997 as a retirement hobby. Now, 25 years later, the family business is bringing in its 3rd generation to learn the ropes and keep the legacy alive.
Johnson’s Sporting Goods, one of Rockingham County’s biggest hidden gems, was started in 1997 by Walter Johnson and his wife Becky, (known by many as Papa J and Mama J). After retiring from Duke Power and Spark’s Oil Company, the Johnsons weren’t quite ready for “typical” retired life and decided to turn their then three-room tobacco barn into a sporting goods store where they would carry knives, ammo, and hunting gear. Over the years, a total of six additions have been added allowing the family business to accommodate new inventory and additional merchandise. The store currently boasts approximately 3,000 square feet and offers significantly more than just hunting gear.
From the beginning, Johnson’s Sporting Goods has been lovingly referred to as a “family affair” and a tight-woven family business, especially now as it is bringing in its third generation to learn the ropes. Wally, Mama J and Papa J’s son and the current owner of Johnson’s Sporting Goods, has always helped out at the store but stepped in full-time after his father’s health declined several years ago and purchased the family business soon after his mother passed away in 2018.
“This business was built from the ground up, or rather from the tobacco barn out, and was always meant to stay in the family,” stated Wally Johnson, owner of Johnson’s Sporting Goods. “Having been here since day one, it was only right I stepped in and kept our family legacy going.”
Like any business, there have been many ups and downs, especially the last few years, but the family continues to overcome any obstacle they face and “keep on keeping on” while providing exceptional customer service for the community. They have found great success in only carrying products that they stand behind, a motto Mama J instilled in the family many years ago. Today, Johnson’s Sporting Goods carries a variety of brands and products including dog supplies (dog collars, leads, splitters, blankets, and feed), ammo, hunting supplies, BOGS, Judy Blue, Bartlett Milling, Durango Boots, Berne, Carhartt, Rocky, and Justin, just to name a few.
Johnson’s Sporting Goods is located at 921 Burton Road, Ruffin, and is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 am until 5 pm and Saturday from 9 am until 1 pm. They also host events throughout the year including “Trade Days” twice a year which allows patrons to come trade goods (with the exception of ammo, drugs, or alcohol)-the first one for 2023 will be held May 6 from daylight until 1 pm; and their Small Town Craft Market which will be held April 15 from 9 am until 3 pm.
For more information or questions about Johnson’s Sporting Goods, please visit them on Facebook or at the store (921 Burton Road, Ruffin).