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Photos by Erica Techo.
Chelsea residents Alexandra and Michael Houghton opened Soccer Post on Valleydale Road in January.
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Photo by Erica Techo.
The store carries equipment for all ages and all types of play, including recreational and professional leagues.
Soccer has long been something Chelsea resident Michael Houghton has enjoyed. Originally from England, he grew up playing soccer and has been a lifelong fan of the sport. Now, he’s hoping to share that passion with others through his new soccer gear store, Soccer Post.
Michael Houghton opened Soccer Post with his wife, Alexandra Houghton, in January, but they had considered opening a store for several years.
“This has actually been kind of a thought in the back of the mind for a good two and a half, three years,” Alexandra Houghton said.
As Chelsea residents, they frequently drove past Sports Blast on U.S. 280 and saw all the soccer games, but did not see a shop dedicated to the needs of soccer players.
“We saw a need for a quality soccer shop in the Hoover/280 corridor, so that is what we want to be for this community,” Alexandra Houghton said.
Their store on Valleydale Road is the first Alabama franchise location of Soccer Post. When considering opening a store, Michael Houghton said the support of a franchise is something that appealed to them.
“We looked to opening up a soccer retail store, but we didn’t want to go out on our own,” he said. “We wanted to have the backing of having a franchise, having somebody where we could go to, help us with suppliers, always have that inventory available.”
Opening through a franchise meant they had established connections to vendors, the ability to get out-of-stock merchandise in a few days and advice for picking a location and setting up the shop.
“Once the ball got rolling, it moved,” Alexandra Houghton said. “I think one of the benefits to the franchise was they knew what they were doing. They knew how to advise us kind of on some next steps.”
The store carries equipment for all ages and all types of play, including recreational and professional leagues. And because they are a store that focuses on soccer equipment, they are able to carry a wider variety of sizes and options, Michael Houghton said.
They also carry replica jerseys of professional soccer teams that cannot always be found in sporting goods stores.
“Our mission is to provide a variety and service to our customers and experience that they can’t get online,” Alexandra Houghton said. “We’re looking for that individual that wants to touch and feel and see, and walk off with it — not sit around for two days and hope it fits when they get it.”
When a shopper comes in, Michael Houghton said they can either direct them to the equipment they are looking for or help them determine what equipment is best.
“Even for novice players who just want to kick a ball around, we’ve got that level,” Alexandra Houghton said. “For the rec leagues, whether it’s a little league or an adult league, we’ve got that level. For the serious player who is in competition and they’re traveling all over, be it the state or the Southeast, we’ve got that level for them.”
As they become more established as a store, Michael Houghton said they also hope to become more involved with the soccer community in Birmingham.
They would like to become an ambassador for the community, providing a gathering place and a place to post information, he said, as well as setting up tents with merchandise at tournaments in the future.
Both look forward to seeing the store continue to grow.
“We haven’t stopped grinning since we opened the doors,” Alexandra Houghton said. “The excitement level on our part, I don’t believe could be any higher.”
Soccer Post is at 5291 Valleydale Road, Unit 137. For more information, go to soccerpost.com or facebook.com/SoccerPostBHM/.