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Episode 50: Toni Roeller

A House of Sport That is a Home for Athletes with Toni Roeller, SVP, In-Store Environment for DICK’S Sporting Goods





Toni Roeller weaves story into the creation of DICK’S Sporting Goods stores to provide a platform for storytelling and creating community. As the SVP, In-Store Environment at DICK’S, Toni leverages her extensive career in store design, planning, visual merchandising and understanding brand experience to bring brands to life…allowing them to show up in unique ways that translate back to their DNA. Toni Roeller and host David Kepron talk about sports, community building, the DICK’S story and how two new store concepts – House of Sport and Public Lands are changing the sporting goods store landscape.


About Toni Roeller:
Toni’s LinkedIn Profile:


Toni Roeller currently serves as Senior Vice President, In-Store Environment, Visual Merchandising and House of Sport at DICK’S Sporting Goods. In this role, Toni is responsible for bringing the brand to life through the overall in-store experience, while ensuring the athlete is at the center of all merchandising strategies.

Toni joined the company in May 2014 as Vice President of Visual Merchandising. In 2019, she was named Vice President of In-Store environment and Visual Merchandising, overseeing all aspects of evolving the in-store environment and visual storytelling.

Prior to joining DICK’s, she served as Vice President of In-Store Environment at The Home Depot. Throughout her career, she also has held increasing roles of responsibility at Best Buy, Levis Strauss and Maurices.


Toni earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Concord University.


I grew up one of five boys.

No sisters… just 5 rambunctious, energetic, physically active, sometime mischievous, food consuming boys.

Oh, and we had dogs and cats, birds, gerbils, Guinea pigs, turtles and I think at one point we even had a parrot… or was it a cockateel.

My mother, God bless your soul, somehow held this sometimes-unwieldy lot together and made sure, along with my father, that we were exposed to the great outdoors.


This, or course, was a time where there was no such thing as a home computer or a cell phone.

There was a TV, but for many years it was black and white with something like 3 or 4 channels and so outside we were most of the day at the park, the swimming pool, or playing in the street while the summertime the sun went down and the last round of kick the can was played before we were all called in for a bath.

Summer trips from Montreal to Winnipeg, where my father side of the family lived, brought us through Toronto and most of northern Ontario. We camped the entire way which was always a lot of fun. 5 boys in a station wagon, with the dog and a camper in tow. For days…

My father made sure that we were also well versed in the world of fishing which I can imagine must have tested his patience as toddlers undoubtedly got hooks stuck in themselves and each other more than they likely caught any fish.

Throughout high school there was no music or theater program at my high school. And so, my friends and I played every sport that there was able to be played starting in the fall with football, leading to volleyball and then basketball and then track and field and then rugby. There never was a time in school where I wasn’t playing sports and I loved it. My high school football coach Chuck Poirier still stands as a significant and memorable figure through those years.

All of my brothers and I became ski school instructors which was one of the only ways to survive Montreal winters which could naturally get as cold as minus 20 or 30 below zero. No big deal really. My parents had us on skis as soon as we could stand, somewhere around the age of two or three. And so, we were used to being out in the cold.


In any case, my parents made sure that we played sports all the time and that we were always physically active.

In college, my mother would show up at all of my football games sitting in the stands, rain or shine, cheering me and the team on. She showed up at my baseball games too. And she was always there reminding me that playing team sports was important because it taught you cooperation, collaborating towards a common goal and teamwork and that you had to rely on others at times to reach your objectives.

The ‘all for one and one for all’ mantra of The Three Musketeers was something that she truly believed in.

My mother had no problem with us being team players, but she believed in leadership in fact she always encouraged her sons to lead the charge in whatever team they were playing.

As for sports stores to meet our needs, well, growing up in Montreal there was Canadian Tire and a store I remember called Le Baron. There was nothing like Eddie Bauer with indoor fishponds and taxidermy statues of giant bears or elk with enormous antlers. There wasn’t anything like REI with rock climbing walls and there certainly wasn’t anything like a two-story 100,000 square foot Dick’s Sporting Goods that seemed to have merchandise for any sport you could possibly imagine.

My uncle Roy, one of my dad’s older brothers, was the Wilson sporting goods distributor for Western Canada so we occasionally got a good set of golf clubs a few flats of balls and some tennis rackets. But again, nothing like you find at a Dick’s Sporting Goods.

DICK’S Sporting Goods is an amazing story of a young man, Dick Stack, who worked in an Army Surplus shop who, when asked to come up with some ideas about what other products could be sold, was dismissed by his boss, the shop owner.

Upset about the interaction, he goes to his grandmother’s house and shares the story of the interaction with his boss. His grandmother literally took money out of a cookie jar on the kitchen shelf and gives him $300 to start his own company instead of staying an employee in someone else’s store.

Dick Stack later on passes on a legacy to his son Ed Stack who turns Dick’s Sporting Goods into a mega brand in the sporting goods industry with about 800 stores and a number of different brands.

DICK’S Sporting Goods also recognizes the profound impact that sports have on youth, community and culture. With their “Sports Matter” program they support little league teams as well as aspiring professional athletes. In fact they don’t call people who shop at their stores customers or guests. To DICK’S Sporting Goods, their customers are all “Athletes.” And their sales associates are “Teammates.”

Enter Toni Roeller to the sporting goods story.

Toni Roeller is an ardent hockey fan, which is always strange for me because I grew up in Montreal during the reign of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, but it never seemed to catch with me because I was a skier. In any case, Toni is also the Senior Vice President of In-Store Environment for DICK’S Sporting Goods.

In the past couple of years Toni Roeller and the DICK’S team has launched a couple of extraordinary sporting goods store concepts including House of Sport and Public Lands. House of Sport is truly one of the most interactive sporting goods stores that there is today. Complete with batting cages, golf simulators and an outdoors practice field, the environment invites athletes to ‘try before they buy’ and to experience the feeling of sports while in the store.

Public Lands is capitalizing on an emerging trend towards hiking and climbing and boasts two to three story rock walls in the center of the store.

When Ed Stack was interested in creating the next evolution of a sporting goods store concept, he told his team that he wanted something that if it was built across the street from a DICK’S Sporting Goods store it would put them out of business. That was a challenge for any store designer who is sports oriented and has competitive mindset that couldn’t be left unanswered.

Toni Roeller and  the DICK’S team delivered the House of Sport concept.

Toni joined the DICK’S Sporting Goods in May 2014 as the Vice President of Visual Merchandising and in 2019 she was named SVP of In-Store Environment, Visual Merchandising and House of Sport. She is responsible for bringing the brand to life through the overall in store experience while ensuring that the athlete is at the center of all merchandising strategies. Tony has a deep history in retail design and store planning and prior to Dick’s she served as the VP of in-store environments at the Home Depot.

She is also held leadership roles at Best Buy, Levi Strauss and Maurice’s.

While at the International Retail Design Conference in November of 2022, Toni was gracious in accepting an early morning conversation about sports as a cultural phenomenon, the growth of DICK’S Sporting Goods as a business and a brand, the evolution of the sporting goods store concept and why sports matter.


LinkedIn Profile:

Websites:    (personal website)  (Blog)


Twitter: DavidKepron

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David Kepron is a multifaceted creative professional with a deep curiosity to understand ‘why’, ‘what’s now’ and ‘what’s next’. He brings together his background as an architect, artist, educator, author, podcast host and builder to the making of meaningful and empathically-focused, community-centric customer connections at brand experience places around the globe.

David is a former VP – Global Design Strategies at Marriott International. While at Marriott, his focus was on the creation of compelling customer experiences within Marriott’s “Premium Distinctive” segment which included: Westin, Renaissance, Le Meridien, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels and Gaylord hotels.

In 2020 Kepron founded NXTLVL Experience Design, a strategy and design consultancy, where he combines his multidisciplinary approach to the creation of relevant brand engagements with his passion for social and cultural anthropology, neuroscience and emerging digital technologies.

As a frequently requested international speaker at corporate events and international conferences focusing on CX, digital transformation, retail, hospitality, emerging technology, David shares his expertise on subjects ranging from consumer behaviors and trends, brain science and buying behavior, store design and visual merchandising, hotel design and strategy as well as creativity and innovation. In his talks, David shares visionary ideas on how brand strategy, brain science and emerging technologies are changing guest expectations about relationships they want to have with brands and how companies can remain relevant in a digitally enabled marketplace.

David currently shares his experience and insight on various industry boards including: VMSD magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board, the Interactive Customer Experience Association, Sign Research Foundation’s Program Committee as well as the Center For Retail Transformation at George Mason University.

He has held teaching positions at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), the Department of Architecture & Interior Design of Drexel University in Philadelphia, the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (L.I.M.) in New York, the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Montreal and he served as the Director of the Visual Merchandising Department at LaSalle International Fashion School (L.I.F.S.) in Singapore.

In 2014 Kepron published his first book titled: “Retail (r)Evolution: Why Creating Right-Brain Stores Will Shape the Future of Shopping in a Digitally Driven World” and he is currently working on his second book to be published soon. David also writes a popular blog called “Brain Food” which is published monthly on


The next level experience design podcast is presented by VMSD magazine and SmartWork Media. It is hosted and executive produced by David Kepron. Our original music and audio production by Kano Sound. 

The content of this podcast is copyright to David Kepron and NXTLVL Experience Design. Any publication or rebroadcast of the content is prohibited without the expressed written consent of David Kepron and NXTLVL Experience Design.

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