Our History

Building a
1902 | The Dream Begins

German immigrant FREDERICK A. SCHEELE moves to Sabin, MN with his wife Augusta and 2 children, Margaret and Fred (Frederick M. Scheel), who help plant potatoes on their 3 acres of land. These were the seeds from which the SCHEELS legacy would grow. WITH $300 EARNED FROM THEIR FIRST HARVEST, he places a down payment on a small hardware and general merchandise store. Frederick A. Scheele drops the ‘e’ from their name and becomes Scheel.

Interior of Sabin general store
A young Frederick Scheel
1919 | Passing The Torch

Frederick M. Scheel, son of Friedrich A. Scheele, returns from serving in the U.S. Navy during WWI and takes over ownership of SCHEELS, which had broadened to include GROCERIES and FARM EQUIPMENT.

1927-1930 | On the Grow

SCHEELS purchases a hardware store in Moorhead, MN and soon expands the business into North Dakota with stores in several communities including Fargo, the future flagship location.

1946 | Taking Flight 1946 | Taking Flight

Frederick B. Scheel, son of Frederick M. Scheel, joins the business after returning home from WWII and a tour of duty as a Marine Corps Aviator flying an F4U Corsair in the South Pacific. Today, SCHEELS honors this family history of military service by supporting many local units before and after deployment, donating to numerous memorials, and contributing to organizations that support our veterans.

Fred B. Scheel with fellow marines and airplane
Charles Scheel
1947 | Brothers in Business

Charles Scheel, brother of Fred B. Scheel, joins the business while attending North Dakota State University. Upon Charles’ graduation, the two brothers become partners. In the following years, they expand the business with the help of their father, opening new stores in North Dakota, Minnesota, & Montana.

1952-1956 | The Next Generation

Charles Scheel becomes company president, while his brother, Fred B. Scheel continues as director and chairman. The family legacy continues as Fred’s son, Steve D. Scheel, starts working part-time at the age of 8.

Robert Alin and Lloyd Paulson join the business and quickly become SCHEELS partners. Throughout their lives, both Robert and Lloyd would give back generously to their communities through organizations such as Dollars for Scholars and the United Way— establishing a legacy of service that is reflected in SCHEELS values today.

Robert Scheels, Robert Alin and Lloyd Paulson
1959-1965 | Doubling Down 1959-1965 | Doubling Down

The Moorhead store relocates, doubling its size to 20,000 square feet, a second Fargo store opens, and St. Cloud, MN becomes the first SCHEELS store to open in a mall. After serving as a Marine fighter pilot, Robert Scheel, the third son of Fred M. Scheel, joins the family business.

Vintage photo of SCHEELS Hardware in downtown Fargo
Vintage 70's photo of SCHEELS in West Acres Mall, Fargo.
1959-1965 |Branching Out 1959-1965 | Branching Out

SCHEELS becomes an incorporated company in North Dakota and expands the business throughout the Midwest opening new stores in Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa.

Vintage 70's photo of SCHEELS in West Acres Mall, Fargo.
Steve D. Scheel
1972 | Making Strides

Each store begins to offer athletic shoes & clothing, including the new location at the West Acres Mall in Fargo, ND. Steve D. Scheel starts working full-time at the family business after serving in the U.S. Army as a combat engineer. In the coming years, Steve would work to convince his father, Fred B. Scheel, that sporting goods are the future of the company, not hardware.

1974-1980 | A Leap of Faith

SCHEELS partnerships convert into a corporation with an executive committee board. The business expands to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as well as adding additional stores in North Dakota, Iowa, & Montana. Despite initial doubts from his father, Steve D. Scheel pushes for a larger selection of sporting goods at the Sioux Falls location, and his efforts prove successful - by 1980 the store converts entirely to sporting goods, & other stores follow suit.

1984-1989 | A Focus On Sports 1984-1989 | A Focus On Sports

In 1984, with sporting goods accounting for about half of the business, it was clear that larger stores would need to be built to accommodate the vast selection of activities—from hunting and camping gear to athletic apparel and footwear. In 1989, the first “All Sports Superstore” opens in Grand Forks, ND. This was considered the flagship store at just over 30,000 square feet.

Vintage photo of Grand Forks SCHEELS Sports
Steve M. Scheel
1989 | A New Generation

Steve M. Scheel joins the business as a part-time shoe stocker. Within two weeks, he was selling shoes. His father, Steve D. Scheel, becomes the president & CEO while making developing leaders a top priority for the company. Throughout the 90s, stores would continue to open across the Midwest, including the first store in Wisconsin.

Employees receiving ESOP checks.
1991 | Employee Owned

SCHEELS converts from family ownership to an EMPLOYEE STOCK OWNERSHIP PLAN, or ESOP. This plan motivates associates by allowing them to benefit directly from SCHEELS continued success and growth. Today, SCHEELS is ONE OF THE LARGEST ESOP COMPANIES IN THE USA and writes multi-million dollar ESOP retirement checks to longtime associates each year.

SCHEELS Home & Hardware in Fargo, ND
1994 | The End of an Era

When the new sporting goods store is built in Fargo, ND, the existing Fargo store converts into a partnership between Robert Scheel and Bob Alin—returning the selection exclusively to hardware. Today it is known as SCHEELS Home & Hardware; the only remaining hardware store in the company.

1998 | Taking It To
The Next Level
1998 | The Next Level

Steve D. Scheel’s vision is to make SCHEELS a destination, rather than just a retailer. Stores begin to feature new attractions, such as the centerpiece tree in the Iowa City store—which opens at 105,000 square feet as the first two-level SCHEELS.

Iowa City SCHEELS' centerpiece tree
Steve Hulbert
2000 | Taking the Lead

Steve Hulbert becomes President after leading several stores, as well as serving as Executive Vice President of the company. Throughout the early 2000s, SCHEELS expands under his leadership-the first store in Nebraska opens & several stores relocate to larger locations.

Old computer showing the first version of SCHEELS website
2002 | The Digital Age

As SCHEELS celebrates its 100th Anniversary, SCHEELS.com is launched as an informational website—later selling gift cards in 2005 and minimal product in 2006. Today, SCHEELS.com offers a massive product selection with convenient features including free returns, free in-store pickup, and live chat with customer service.

2004 | Riding High 2004 | Riding High

The first store with the signature SCHEELS Ferris wheel opens in Omaha, NE, providing an exciting new retail experience for customers. Later that year, the Des Moines, IA store opens as the World’s Largest All Sports Store at 179,000 square feet.

Omaha SCHEELS' Ferris Wheel
Omaha SCHEELS Store
2006 | The Fifth
2006 | The Fifth Generation

After more than 40 years in the business, company President Steve Hulbert retires. Steve M. Scheel steps into the position of President, entering the fifth generation of family leadership at SCHEELS. His father, Steve D. Scheel becomes CEO/Chairman.

Omaha SCHEELS Store
2007 | Scheels Visa

In 2007, SCHEELS partners with First National Bank of Omaha and VISA and launchs the SCHEELS Visa program. In 2012, SCHEELS becomes the first Co-brand retailer to issue cards instantly in store. Members are able to reward their passion and treat themselves to the best brands by using their earned gift card rewards in-store.

2008-2012 | Against All Odds 2008-2012 | Against All Odds

SCHEELS tops the World’s Largest All Sports store record for the third time when it opens the Sparks, NV store at 295,000 square feet. This new store is nearly 100,000 square feet larger than the previous record store in Fargo, built two years earlier, and features dozens of attractions, including the first walk-though SCHEELS aquarium. Just one month after the grand opening, the Great Recession begins, plummeting retail sales across the nation & suddenly making the new store’s investment a huge risk. But, by earning the trust & loyalty of their customers & associates, SCHEELS weathers the recession, free of any layoffs or downsizing. Nearly two years later, construction is complete on two new stores, each over 200,000 square feet with the first SCHEELS locations in Illinois and Utah.

Omaha SCHEELS Store
Steve D. Scheel speaking to store leaders
2013 | Our Goal as Leaders

Steve D. Scheel introduces this mantra to encourage leaders to empower associates: "Take good people, lead them by example, immerse them in our culture, and help them to become great at what they do while enjoying their career or part-time work at SCHEELS."

Bill Nelson
2015-2017 | A Bright Future

In 2015, Bill Nelson becomes president, overseeing the operations of 6,000+ associates. The Scheels family legacy continues as Steve M. Scheel becomes CEO, & Steve D. Scheel becomes Chairman of the Board—as well as self-proclaimed “head cheerleader”. SCHEELS continues to flourish as the first stores in Kansas and Colorado open in 2015 & 2017.

Fuzziwigs Candy Store
2017 | A Sugar Rush

FUZZIWIG’S CANDY FACTORY and SCHEELS partner to bring confectionery goodness to SCHEELS starting in the SPRINGFIELD, IL store, then expanding to more SCHEELS locations. Fuzziwigs adds to the FUN DESTINATION shopping experience that SCHEELS continues to create, featuring old-fashioned classics, hand-dipped chocolates, and over 100 different varieties of CANDY.

2020 | Breaking Records 2020 | Breaking Records

SCHEELS surpasses its own record as the World’s Largest All Sports Store with the opening of The Colony, TEXAS location. The 331,000 square-foot store features more than 85 specialty shops and attractions for the entire family.

SCHEELS Storefront in The Colony, TX
Todd Anderson Store Leader to President Photo
2021 | Store Leader to President

As Bill Nelson retires, Todd Anderson becomes president. Todd started in 1991 in Sioux Falls, SD. From there, he traveled to Eau Claire, WI, Des Moines, IA, Great Falls, MT, Sparks, NV, Billings, MT and is now to our Corporate Office in Fargo, ND.

Scheels App

The SCHEELS app also launches this year, allowing customers a new way to shop and browse products more easily anywhere in the world.


Seeking new opportunities, SCHEELS continues to expand, strengthening its presence and introducing the SCHEELS culture to new markets. During 2023 and 2024, SCHEELS opens stores in WICHITA, KS, CHANDLER, AZ, TULSA, OK, and MERIDIAN, ID.

Matt Hanson New CEO of Scheels

The great great grandson of the founder of SCHEELS, STEVE M. SCHEEL retires and MATT HANSON becomes the new CEO. Matt started as a PART-TIME CASHIER at SCHEELS in MANKATO, MN, and worked his way up to where he is today.

Today |All About The People Today | All About The People

SCHEELS CONTINUES TO OPEN STORES ACROSS THE U.S., featuring the world’s largest selection of sporting goods, apparel, footwear, and more from top brands. However, what truly sets SCHEELS apart is a STRONG DEDICATION TO PEOPLE by empowering associates, providing FIRST-CLASS CUSTOMER SERVICE, and GIVING BACK to local communities. To help achieve this goal, SCHEELS donates between 8 to 10% of profits annually to organizations in its local communities. SCHEELS looks forward to continuing its legacy of exceptional customer service and one-of-a-kind retail experiences, both online and in stores. As SCHEELS expands, it will continue to pursue the original mission set forth in the 1970’s, “WE DO GOOD IN OUR COMMUNITIES,” by being an active partner in its communities and striving to be the BEST RETAILER IN THE USA in the eyes of customers, associates, & business partners.

Omaha SCHEELS Store
Tomorrow |
The Future Has Never Looked Brighter At SCHEELS
Tomorrow | The Future Has Never Looked Brighter At SCHEELS
SCHEELS Storefront