Closure of Sports Authority stores could be boon for smaller sporting retailers

Closure of Sports Authority stores could be boon for smaller sporting retailers
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hearing that the "supermarket of sporting goods" is on its way out motivated Peter Trombly to load up on socks Monday.

"I'm going to miss Sports Authority hugely," he said. "I love shopping there. I get things there for a great price and it's a quality product."

Sports Authority stores across the country are liquidating, including Hawaii's eight stores.

The chain has been in Hawaii for more than two decades, and employs hundreds of people in its eight stores.

"It seems like it gets plenty of business and it kind of makes me wonder what's going on to cause it," customer Tim Perkins said.

After filing for bankruptcy in March, the big box retailer abandoned plans to reorganize, opting instead to sell off assets. Most or all of Sports Authority's 463 stores will close.

Small sporting goods stores see Sports Authority's exit as a chance to pick up some business.

Yukio Yukawa manages McCully Bicycle & Sporting Goods, and worked for Sports Authority for 11 years. He said Hawaii sporting goods stores will likely see increased demand, especially for youth sports gear.

"Kids soccer, kids baseball, and camping also. That's another big one. Everybody goes outdoors for camping. I don't know of anybody else who carries tents and things other than Sports Authority," he said.

Richard Lewis, of Total Fitnesss USA, said another large sporting goods chain coming in to take over for Sports Authority stores isn't a given.

"There are several large areas like that around town where people have closed up and they're still empty," he said.

The timeline for the Sport Authority liquidations isn't yet set, but one thing's for certain: If you have a gift card, use it.

The pending bankruptcy order allows consumers to redeem gift cards. But state Office of Consumer Protection executive director Stephen Levins said that can change.

"If there is a possibility it can change and you know the company's going out of business, the logical thing to do, the prudent thing to do, is to go and get something for your gift card. So go on down there and redeem it," he said.

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