Sport Mart first opened in Charleston in 1930. It moved to this larger location years later.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A well-known Charleston business is closing. Sport Mart Superstore told its workers Tuesday. A liquidation sale will begin Aug. 1.

Sport Mart is family-owned. It was founded in 1930 in downtown Charleston and then moved across the Kanawha River on MacCorkle Ave. to a larger building in the 1980s.

In a news release company officials said the closing is the result of “ever changing demographics, competition from big chain stores, the Internet and the local economy have all contributed to sales erosion.”

The business has been for sale for many months but no one has stepped forward to purchase it. Sport Mart said it would continue to entertain offers.

Along with its retail shop, the business has provided sporting equipment including uniforms to hundreds of community sports teams and schools for decades.

“This is a very sad time for the Sport Mart family as most of our employees have been with us for 20 years or more,”said Sport Mart President John Smallridge. “Sport Mart has a long standing relationship with the local school systems in Charleston and surrounding areas and plans to honor all of its commitments for merchandise sold to those schools.”

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  • Dale from Logan

    I hate to see this store close, it was on the list to visit when we traveled to Chareston. I loved to talk to Bob about the new lures in the the store, a great Man , great people.

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    This is what it's coming to folks. Sports Mart had contracts to provide sporting goods, and equipment to some of the schools in West Virginia. Seems like that would be a long term business. So where are they going to get them now, China?

  • Mr. Nice Guy

    I see it every day now, different businesses "closing the doors" because they can't compete with Walmart. Take the Krogers in Weston for instance, they had been in business for 40 years I think, and just closed in April. There are 3, count 'em 3 Walmart stores within 20 miles of Weston.
    It seems to me that the Sports Mart could have moved more towards the internet sales themselves in order to keep up with the times, if they really wanted to.
    Krogers on the other hand probably couldn't sell milk, bread and eggs on the internet.
    I'm all for capitalism but these corporations continue to put profit before people, and country. I just heard today that Mylan Pharmaceuticals is moving to the Netherlands to save money on taxes. That's their choice and I don't know enough about their financial situation to pass judgment, but surely it can't be good for West Virginia, or America.
    Who's gonna buy their drugs when we're all unemployed?

    • Mike Twigger

      i tend to agree but think an even more methodical and sinister agenda is at work. Crony capitalism instead of free market capitalism. outsourcing and regulated out of business is the plan to bring USA down along with transfer of wealth via the Federal Reserve system with the QE unlimited and lets not forget the Cloward-Piven strategy of overwhelming the country with debt... God is allowing it to happen however so they will bring in the NWO etc keep the faith!

  • stephen c

    I will never forget my 7th grade basketball shoes (blue converse weapons) and my A2000 that I used from the 9th grade till the 12th in baseball. they gave great service and will be missed. my wife even used to work there. she will be saddened.

  • Lynn Watts

    I'm saddened. They have always provided great service to me as a customer and to the community as sponsor of many sports programs and activities. They have been always been a large sponsor of the Charleston Distance Run.

  • Jeffrey Lebowski

    There prices were too high and the staff was rude. Good riddance.

    • Eddie

      I also found their customer service to be deplorable. Their employees were extremely rude. The return policy was basically a no-return policy. I emailed them once richf after Dicks opened and told them to make a change or they wouldn't survive. Of course, they were too arrogant to even respond.

      So, I have no sympathy at all for this place. It is reaping what it sowed.

      Good riddance.

    • College Ave

      I couldn't agree more about the sales staff being rude. We've shopped there off and on for nearly 20 years and always marveled at the general attitude in the place. Either ownership/management made it a crappy place to work or they intentionally hired people who really weren't cut out for sales and service.

  • Don

    This really sucks. As a fisherman I can say without a doubt that Sportmart has always been my go to place for fishing equipment in our region... much better than Dicks, Gander or Cabelas. I never seen much business take place in other areas of the store to be honest but the fishing area was always packed! They even hosted their own series of fishing tournaments on the river... what will happen with those? And what will happen to poor old Bob now?

    • ThatGuyOverThere

      That was the only place I have ever been able to get Erie Dearie jig heads...Bob is a heck of a guy also...they carried some of the best baits for our area...Big business pushes the little guy out once more.

  • Don Henry

    It's the economy stupid--I have been in retail in the valley over 40 years and it is not good---you will see more of the old retailers going out of business--when Carbide went and and now war on coal ---it ain't going to get any better!!!!!

    • Pickle Barrel

      Agreed. Charleston is a dying city; they just don't know it yet.

      Population loss of over 30,000 in the last 50 years, rampant crime on the West Side, the mall is thug central, hoodlums hanging out at the transit mall, etc. I grew up and lived in Charleston and it's a lot different now than in the 1960s and 70s. Moved out 6 years ago and haven't looked back.

    • Benthere

      I agree with Don Henry. The economy in the greater Charleston area is really in a free fall. There is far less money locally then 20 years ago. Talk to small business owners they will all tell the same story. Talk to people trying to raise money for the different charities or civic organizations. They will tell you how incredibly difficult it is today as compared to the past. The exit of the chemical industry as cut the economic life out of the Kanawha Valley. I do not see anything taking its place. State, county and city officials seem afraid to discuss the obvious. With out some kind of economic plan for the future this area is doomed.

  • JTL

    Hate this news, even to this day you can only find certain things you need at sportmart.

  • K. David Rollins

    I am saddened about the closing of Sport Mart. I have purchased a lot things from the store including tennis shoes, clothing, tennis and racquetball racquets, tennis balls and racquetball balls and other equipment associated with those sports. However I understand the competition with the internet and large chain stores. John Smallridge has had a great business there.

  • GregG

    What a shame. I have shopped there for years. Seems a few are commenting on their prices, but I have found Dick's, Cabala's and Gander Mountain to be just as high if not higher.

  • Diaspora

    It was a huge deal when, in the early 1970s, my Dad took me to Sport Mart on Quarrier St and I was allowed to pick out my first baseball glove. Just as big was being taken to Bob Long's Toy Magic on Bridge Rd, choosing a swing set, and Mr Long coming himself to install it. Charleston was my world then and it is like reading an obituary to see this anchor of 20th century Charleston retail close its doors.

  • Larry

    They've been outdated for years. Prices are too high. I'm shocked they're still open. I've never liked to shop there.

  • Eddie Young

    Sad to hear this. I bought my first suede Converse at Sport-Mart on Quarrier St. In 1975. Loved the store send took my kids there when I got a chance. We lived 55 miles away..

    • ChumlyBelicheck

      Yep, bitter sweet. I got
      My first Handy in the parking lot there, right after the other twin was cupping the sports balls. Good times.

  • Shannon Westerman

    Another sad day for Charleston and WV. They have for years offered the finest in Sporting Goods with making a contribution to the community in many ways. Our heritage is again being affected by the big boys who are outside corporations taking money out of the state with little compassion to local needs.

    Sorry to see your go...Sport Mart

    • Sad

      The primary reason for this store's demise is none other than the world wide web. Who wouldn't rather be able to price compare on 10 different sights or even amazon for a much better deal than local businesses could ever muster. I remember playing baseball growing up that is where I used to get a bat until the internet took off you realized how overpriced their product was. With ever increasing unemployment and increasing taxes, these stores will continue to become extinct with only a few global players able to stand.

      • Yup

        You are spot on with the good ol' World Wide Web. It's even shutting down long time chains like Radio Shack, Staples, etc.