Pickleball at the mall: Former big-box store in Tempe to turn into 'Picklemall'

Picklemall is a company that provides pickleball courts for people to use.

Pickleball at the mall: Former big-box store in Tempe to turn into 'Picklemall'

In the midst of a pickleball boom in the Valley, the newly-formed Texas company will open its first Phoenix metro location.

Picklemall's first U.S. store will open in Tempe, Arizona, in July at 5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle Suite 313 of the Arizona Mills mall. Picklemall is taking over a space of 104,000 square feet that was previously occupied By At Home Stores. This store closed in 2019.

Pickleball is growing in Arizona and I'm excited to be at its forefront," Picklemall CEO West Shaw said to the Business Journal. "[Arizona] is a place with a lot of elements that encourage people to stay indoors, and that's the reason we went there."

Shaw, who is from Dallas, says the Picklemall concept began with the creation of pop-up pickleball courts or modular pickleball court that could be temporarily installed in big-box store empty spaces. He compares his concept as the "Spirit Halloween" of pickleball.

Picklemall currently has offices in Dallas, Austin and may move its headquarters depending on the location that grows fastest. He said that being centrally located in Texas allows Picklemall to manage local logistics for expansion markets.

The new concept will replace the aisles of home d├ęcor with 24 pickleball court.

Shaw explained that if you visit a public tennis court at prime times, you will probably have to wait. We're trying our best to eliminate the waiting time, and forcing people to play in Tempe, Arizona at noon, in July. This could be dangerous."

Leaning into new technology

Picklemall is a company that offers pickleball paddles to those who are interested in improving their game.

Shaw stated that Picklemall would use new technology to enhance the player's experience. This includes launching an Android and iOS app. The app allows players to reserve courts, schedule playtimes and analyze their gameplay.

He said, "We are trying to be tech-forward to differentiate ourselves from our competitors."

Pickleball will be available at these locations in the form of leagues, clinics open play, tournaments, and pick-up matches. Picklemall will serve snacks and soft drinks instead of hot food and alcohol.

Picklemall has now turned its attention to shopping malls and other centers across the country. Picklemall aims to open 50 locations nationwide in the next 24 month, including additional ones in the Valley. However, no new locations have yet been secured.

Shaw believes Picklemall will be able expand rapidly, not only because of the popularity of the sport but also due to the desire by shopping malls to fill empty big-box space. Shaw said that the company is still using its modular approach to open the store. This means the tenant improvements work required to prepare the space for tenants will be minimal.

Johansen Interiors was the general contractor of Picklemall Arizona Mills. Shaw stated that the company did all the design and architecture work in-house.

Shaw said that his company didn't work with a broker firm, but instead worked closely with Indianapolis shopping mall REIT Simon Property Group Inc.