When Jim and Rosalyn Hamilton opened their Miami Lakes Sports Shop nearly five decades ago, she didn’t know a thing about sports or athletic gear.
“But I learned quickly,” former flight attendant Rosalyn Hamilton, 73, said about the business that she ran with staff for five years.
Jim Hamilton was torn between his full-time sales career with Exxon while working at the store at night and on weekends.
Rosalyn Hamilton tackled machine embroidery, retail sales, ordering stock and fitting football helmets on kids.
Eventually, her husband was able to join her full-time in their growing sporting goods trade which at one point had three stores in Broward County, too.
Five Miami Lakes locations later, the couple is closing the doors of their Main Street shop at the end of December.
They have outfitted generations of school teams and local kids who became parents, then grandparents, and remained customers.
Ironically, the closure is happening at the same time it was voted best retail/shopping experience in the annual Best of Miami Lakes contest.
“It’s bittersweet,” Rosalyn Hamilton said. “It’s something we’ve really loved doing all these years.”
Jim Hamilton, 77, said Miami Lakes is not just a good place to nurture children -- it is also a special town to grow a business.
“The town has been good to us, and I want to thank the families in Miami Lakes that supported us for 48 years in the sporting goods business,” he said.
“Taking care of their needs, and most of their kids, it’s been our privilege to be involved in the community,” he said.
He called it “a real emotional high” when parents bring their kids to the store and share how it’s where they bought their first letterman jacket.
“They have fond memories,” Jim Hamilton said. “It’s just been such a fun ride. It meant so much to me.
“It’s like losing a member of my family,” he said.
“You put your whole life into it. It’s not an 8 to 5 job. I’d get calls on vacation and wouldn’t care. It’s what I do.” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic initially slowed delivery of their orders. Vendors’ manufacturing troubles and supply chain delays were signs that the business had changed, which made it easier to retire, sort of.
The Hamiltons plan to continue working from their website, to sell gear to teams, to offer embroidery and to print names on jerseys and custom uniforms.
He will also continue volunteering with the Miami Lakes Optimist Club as treasurer, basketball commissioner and administrator of the Roland Gomez scholarship program.
And there are grandchildren to spoil, and trips to take.
“Eventually your family becomes more important than working all the time,” Rosalyn Hamilton said.
“It’s time to have a little more time with your family and make sure you can do what you want to do, while you can still do it,” she said.
The Hamilton family is shown in the photo above. Back row, from left: Jimmy and Barbara Hamilton; Jim Hamilton; Georgia and John Hamilton and Joe and Maureen LeSerra. Center row: Rosalyn Hamilton; Mia Hamilton; Reilee LeSerra; Jackson Hamilton; Hamilton LeSerra and Marcus Hamilton. In front: Nolyn LeSerra; Olivia Hamilton; James Hamilton and Max Hamilton.