Millbank Metro Business of the Month - Pickleball Mania Pickleball Supplies
Local Business - Announcements
Written by Millbank Daily-Weekly   
Saturday, 14 March 2015 07:24

MILLBANK - Did you know that around 400,000 people in the United States and Canada play pickle ball, according to the USA Pickleball Association? If Doug Sheffley, 71, has anything to say about it, that number will grow even more. “I think we’re talking everybody, all 7 billion humans. And then we’ll teach the monkeys to play.”

Doug Sheffley is known by Millbank’s senior population as “The Pickleball Maniac”, and for good reason. Although the game was created in 1965, Sheffley introduced it to the community only seven years ago, where it has taken off like a runaway pickleball. “It’s fun and a great way to keep in shape, both mentally and physically,” he says.

The residents of the Downhill Moderate Senior Living complex were pickleball’s first devotees. Facility Manager Irvin Hoyt had an indoor court installed in 2012, and according to Hoyt, it gets a lot of use. “Sometimes fights break out,” says resident Tilda Berthen. “Especially if folks have been hogging the court for too long. Don’t get in the way of a person denied her pickleball fix!”

Once Sheffley formed the Millbank Pickleball Expert League (MPEL) in 2013, he observed that it could be difficult to obtain the best equipment. “People were using old Ping-Pong rackets, wiffle ball bats, spatulas, whatever. It was not conducive to the true athleticism that this sport demands,” notes Sheffley. He decided to give up his career in international finance and devote himself full time to promoting and expanding pickleball in the Tri-City area. He opened Pickleball Mania for that purpose in 2014.

Pickleball Mania currently sells a full line of paddles, including ones made out of the newest lightweight composites. Balls and paddles can be purchased in custom colors. The store also sells pickleball attire, both for on and off the court. Some of the most popular items are t-shirts with funny quips about pickleball. “People who play pickleball want the world to know about pickleball,” says Sheffley. “It’s like a cult in that way.”

The MPEL is currently lobbying to have an outdoor court installed in Ottoman Park. Sheffley also wants to introduce the game to students at local schools. “All the problems with today’s youth could probably be solved with a good game of pickleball. Today, Millbank’s seniors. Tomorrow, the world.”

Pickleball Mania is located at 817 Divan Street in downtown Millbank. Business hours are 9 am – 5 pm, Monday – Thursday, but the store may be closed for regional and statewide tournaments. Shoppers who bring a friend to join the MPEL will receive a 20% discount!

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