Emma McMillan and Christopher Green set up an online basketball accessories business in 2011 and have since built up a solid customer base.
Now, the Wallsend-based entrepreneurs have gone a step further, establishing Basketball Megastore on Monk Street in Newcastle to complement the website business.
Miss McMillan said both she and Mr Green had enjoyed playing the fast-growing sport for many years, and have developed a clear understanding of the market they are aiming for.
“Both Chris and I have played basketball since we were kids, and we just love everything about the sport and the culture that surrounds it,” she said.
“We both play for Morpeth Basketball Club in the local league and love how strong the basketball community is in the North East.”
The new store is the culmination of several years’ work, and will stock a wide range of products for both players and fans alike - everything from basketballs, hoops and kits, through to caps, crews and basketball-inspired T-shirts.
Mr Green said: “I trained in electrical engineering, while Emma has a background in art, having worked in New York before we set up Basketball Megastore.
“But we both had a love of basketball, and felt that there was a gap in the UK market for a dedicated basketball store that would provide everything you would need to play the sport, but that also cared about the fashion and cultural side of the game.”
Since the London 2012 Olympics, basketball has grown to become the second most played sport in the UK, with 32% of 11-15 year olds participating in it, according to the Department of Culture Media and Sport.
In this region alone, initiatives like Hoops4Health have encouraged over 800,000 youngsters to try basketball as part of a healthier lifestyle since 2002.
“We’ve grown up playing basketball in the North East and supporting the UK’s most successful basketball team in the Newcastle Eagles,” Miss McMillan said. “So opening the store in Newcastle made sense for us.
“We’ve already had a lot of support from the local basketball community, and hope we can now give something back.”
The Basketball Megastore is situated behind The Gate leisure complex in Newcastle city centre.
More information can be found at http://www.basketballmegastore.com .