PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — One of the most requested businesses by News 13 viewers in Bay County is now open in Panama City.

Academy Sports + Outdoors has officially planted roots in Panama City.

“Very excited,” Bozeman High School student Austin Comer said. “I’m from Georgia and we had a ton of them. It’s by far the best store I have ever been in.”

The 55,000-square-foot store was months in the making.

“Very intense,” store director Fred Foster said. “When we opened the door, we was glad to see the community came out and shop with us. It was such a pleasure to have them here with us.”

Some local athletes said the pleasure was all theirs.

“It’ll be awesome having somewhere to get football pads without having to go all the way out to Dothan,” Comer said. “It’s nice having something right here, right down the road and they have everything you could ever need.”

In celebration of its grand opening, Academy also donated $6,000 to four area schools along with 20 local students. The teens said they were thankful for the kind gesture.

“It means a good bit,” Bozeman High School student Brayden Baker said. “It means a lot knowing some people in our community will give back to us and support the community.”

Academy representatives said they are thrilled to serve the Bay County community.

“We want them to come in and have fun and that’s what we want to do,” Foster said. “As we go into this next phase, just making sure that we’re educating our community on safety and things like that when they come into our stores. Being that go-to person if they have kids that need to be fitted for different sports and things like that. Or just having an average hunter or fisherman coming in looking for different things that we can help them with.”

Academy Sports + Outdoors in Panama City is located in the Stanford Shopping Center on 23rd Street. They will kick off the grand opening celebration with a ribbon cutting Friday morning at 8:45.