PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The long-awaited opening for Academy Sports + Outdoors is finally here.

Panama City residents came out to check out one of the area’s newest businesses all weekend long.

“We’re having a lot of great fun out here [Sunday],” Store Director Fred Foster said. “You see all the people are out. The community is loving us today. They’re all supporting Academy, so we’re glad to have them here.”

Thousands of people in the community flocked to Academy this weekend to check out the new store that was a long time coming.

“Tons of positive feedback,” Academy Sports + Outdoors Regional Marketing Specialist Mike Reynolds said. “Everyone is just so happy that we’re here. Convenient for them to get to. They’ve maybe shopped at other Academys, whether that be in Pensacola or Dothan, but now that we’re here in Panama City. They are just so excited that we’re in their backyard and front yard for some people that are even closer to our store.”

Even members of Academy’s corporate team visiting from Katy, Texas said they’ve never seen a community so excited for a grand opening of one of their stores.

“I think they’re just floored, honestly, about how… We knew the people were going to be excited in Panama City. But the excitement levels that we’ve seen… If there was a bar, it’s just been escalated above higher than that,” Reynolds said. “The people are here. We’ve gotten such great feedback and nothing but positive things all around.”

The crowd celebrated with games, prizes, free T-shirts and free food at the event.

“It’s a great, great, great feeling to see all the community come out and support Academy,” Foster said. “They’ve been wanting this for a long time, all of them saying, ‘Hey, we don’t want to drive anywhere else but right here in Panama City.'”

Academy Sports + Outdoors in Panama City is located in the Stanford Shopping Center on 23rd Street.

“We’re just really excited that we’re finally able to open our doors here in Panama City,” Reynolds said. “Thanks everyone that’s come out this far this weekend. We look forward to continuing to serve the Panama City area for years to come.”