Longtime Sporting Goods Store Closes In Manhattan

By: Lindsey Rogers Email
By: Lindsey Rogers Email

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- A staple in Manhattan’s Aggieville district has closed its doors after more than 60 years in business.

Ballard’s Sporting Goods on Moro Street has gone out of business and crews are clearing out the store.

One of Manhattan’s oldest businesses, Ballard’s opened in 1951 and also had a Topeka location for a time.

The business did screen printing and embroidery and sold apparel for Kansas State University and the surrounding high schools, including Wamego High School, Riley County High School, Manhattan High School and Rock Creek High School.

Ballard’s sold a few years ago Varney’s Book Store but it could not stay afloat.

“It’s really sad for us to see another Aggieville institution go by the wayside this summer. I think it’s just a matter of a mixture of online shopping and there being other retail avenues in town to buy the same kind of thing. It’s just one of the sad things that happens to local retailers,” said Evan Tuttle, Executive Director of the Aggieville Business Association.

Officials say the space is being renovated to become part of Johnny Kaw’s Sports Bar next door.

This past St. Patrick’s Day the gazebo at Triangle Park was re-dedicated to the Ballard family. It was originally dedicated to Sonny Ballard who started the sporting goods business with his dad.

“So the Ballard name will live on in Aggieville,” Tuttle said.

In May, Hibachi Hut, a staple and culinary landmark in the Aggieville District for more than 50 years, also closed.

Fuzzy's Taco Shop, a franchise business, will move into Hibachi Hut's location on North 12th Street.

But with the bad news about Manhattan’s oldest restaurant also came with some good news for its loyal patrons- it’s not gone for good.

A local businessman purchased the Hibachi Hut name along with its American, Creole and Cajun recipes and plans to reopen the restaurant at a new location on Poyntz Avenue in downtown Manhattan in the future.

631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
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