In memoriam: Barbara Biewer shaped The Sports Authority’s fitness category

Barbara Biewer, long-time fitness buyer for fitness and sporting goods retail, passed away on Oct. 1 after a short illness. She was 58.
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Barbara Biewer, long-time fitness buyer for fitness and sporting goods retail, passed away on Oct. 1 after a short illness. She was 58.

A short statement from her employer, The Sports Authority, called her “beloved wife, friend and co-worker.” According to a TSA spokeswoman, her family has requested no other information be released, and it chose to run no formal obituaries.

“Barbara was considered one of the premier merchants in the fitness sporting goods category and has clearly shaped much of The Sports Authority's direction for that category,” the statement from TSA said. The company declined further comment based on her family’s request.

A woman who shied away from any publicity, Biewer did make a statement to SNEWS three years ago -- for a memorial story on the passing of long-time sporting goods rep Dennis “OD” O’Donnell. In that she said, “I have been in the retail business for many years and have never met anyone quite like OD. He can make me smile and laugh on any day in just about any circumstance.”

According to her page on LinkedIn, Biewer attended the Atlanta School of Fashion and Design from 1968-1971. She had been working as a fitness buyer for TSA for the last 14 years. She was at the time of her death the Senior Fitness Buyer. She began with Oshman’s in 1995. Oshman’s was acquired by Gart Sports, which ultimately merged with The Sports Authority.

“I started working with Barbara shortly after she was named the fitness buyer at Oshman’s,” recalled Richard Davis, GoFit president. “She was a tremendous merchant who was tough, but fair. She always told you exactly what she was thinking, and you knew exactly where you stood with her.

“Barbara was full of surprises though, she was this petite, kind of grandmotherly woman who would still tell stories of going to rock concerts and drinking tequila,” he said. “If you were able to spend time with her away from the office, she was just one of the guys and that’s how she wanted to be treated. She was a remarkable person and a great lady. I will truly miss her.”

Biewer is survived by her husband, Chip, according to the TSA statement.

--Therese Iknoian

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