Daily photo by Emily Saunders|
Mark Mizell, center, and Dan Coulter recently purchased Woodall Sporting Goods from Virginia Woodall, right, and her husband, Bill Woodall, left. The Decatur sporting goods store is known for its area sports memorabilia.
Woodall's staying nostalgic
Store's new owners keeping mini 'sports museum' dedicated to area teams
By Deangelo McDaniel
If you don't know that Lawrence Owens played on the 1930 Clements High basketball team, you probably never visited Woodall Sporting Goods.
The 10-year-old business is as close to a sports museum as you'll get in Morgan County. Don't expect that to change.
But the business that Virginia Woodall built changed owners Monday.
Because of health reasons, she sold the company to Dan Coulter and Hartselle Councilman Mark Mizell.
"My health has gotten to a point that I can't be part of the coaches, schools and kids life like I'm use to," an emotional Woodall said.
The store's primary service area is schools in Morgan, Lawrence, Limestone, Cullman and Lauderdale counties. She had some clients in Jefferson County.
"They were coaches who had worked in the area, and I built a relationship with them," she explained.
The store will continue to carry Woodall's name. And don't expect the face-to-face service to change.
"We're going to continue to serve the people she has served, and our No. 1 priority is to service the schools like she has," Mizell said.
The toughest challenge Coulter and Mizell may face is keeping Woodall's tradition of collecting and displaying local sports articles and memorabilia.
Every school represented
She has banners she made from every school in the area. For 10 years, Woodall clipped sports articles from The Decatur Daily and displayed them.
"The kids come in and look for their pictures and write ups, and I wanted them to see it," she said, proudly.
The store has more than prep memorabilia. Woodall has autograph footballs and pictures from former Alabama and Auburn coaches and players.
There's one section of the store that is a tribute to the 1953 Austinville High School state championship basketball team because her husband, Billy Woodall, played for the Hornets. He was the MVP of the state tournament.
His No. 27 jersey, a team photo and newspaper articles about the championship game are among the items displayed.
The store will likely keep this display because Coulter's uncle, Buddy Coulter, played on the team.
There's also a youth picture when Billy Woodall coached Coulter's wife, Morgan Vickery Coulter. She is the assistant basketball coach at Decatur High.
Mizell and Coulter said they realize that the Woodalls put their hearts into the business.
"We're not going to let what Ms. Woodall built go away," Coulter said.
Added Mizell: "She started a tradition that we want to keep."
Woodall is confident that they will.
"If I wasn't, I wouldn't have sold them the store," she said. "This store wasn't just about the money. I dealt directly with the players and coaches. I tried to build relationship and give back to the community. I know they will do that."
Remember the picture of the 1930 Clements team? Lawrence Owens is Virginia Woodall's father. Below it is a picture of the 1932 Austinville team that includes Billy's father, Paul Woodall.
"If they want to keep this, we're going to leave it here," Woodall said.
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