In an internal memo circulated to employees this week, Dick's Sporting Goods has announced that Todd Spaletto, the former group president of Wolverine Worldwide and global president of The North Face, has been hired as president of Public Lands, the new specialty outdoor chain Dick's plans to launch next year.
In the memo, Dick's confirmed that Spaletto, who departed from Wolverine in April, will be responsible for the development, launch, and growth strategy of Public Lands' two initial locations, in Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, tentatively set to open in late summer or early fall, 2021.
On a call with investors last week, the outgoing CEO of Dick's, Ed Stack, said that Public Lands will be "different than what you would see with REI," and will "carve out a different niche" in the outdoor space.
As the name implies, the new brand will focus on protecting public lands and advancing environmental protections as well as driving bottom-line growth for Dick's. Encouraging youth participation in outdoor sports will also be a focus of the new project.
"At Dick's, we've been very focused on our Sports Matter Foundation and how important we think it is that kids have an opportunity to get out and play," Stack said on his investor call last week, referring to the company's nonprofit that works to increase sports participation among children. "With the investment we've made in Sports Matter over the years, we've reached over 1 million kids and have given them the opportunity to continue to play sports. We hope with Public Lands we're going to be able to impact another million over the next several years."
Dick's leadership has indicated that Spaletto will be instrumental in bringing outdoor industry expertise to Public Lands to help the project achieve its stated goals.
"Over the next several months, Todd...will work closely with leaders across the company to develop and implement the plans to support this important initiative," the recently circulated company memo said. "Todd’s experience in and knowledge of the outdoor market will be invaluable in driving the company’s efforts in this space."
Outside of his roles at The North Face and Wolverine, Spaletto's 24 years of experience in the outdoor industry include three years as the vice president of sales for JanSport and two years as a national sales manager at High Sierra.
Just 48 hours into the job, Spaletto was unavailable for comment, but we look forward to sitting down with him in the near future to learn more about his new role and the direction of Public Lands.