CHARLESTON, W.Va. – It’s the beginning of the end for Sport Mart. The sports retailer, which has been in business in Charleston for more than 80 years, announced last month it was going out of business.
The store opened its doors Friday morning for the start of its liquidation sale.
“We’re starting with everything in the store at 20-40 percent off. Nothing excluded,” according to Buddy Clendenin, the assistant general manager. “If you’re looking for shoes or fishing supplies or even team supplies like footballs and stuff for your midget league kids, we’ve still got a lot of merchandise.”
The owners of Sport Mart said competition from big box stores like Dick’s and Walmart cut into their once brisk business. After looking for someone who might be willing to buy them out and no takers, they decided to close for good.
Clendenin said it’s a tough time for everyone involved.
“You not only feel bad for the employees who have been here, some for 30-years plus, but for the customers you’ve gotten to know,” he stressed.
There’s no timeline on how long the liquidation sale will last.
“The plan is probably 12 weeks. There’s no specific end date,” according to Clendenin. He said they’ll close when the merchandise is gone.
He urged those who want to take advantage of the sale to shop early. The prices will go down even more as they get closer to closing day. However, the selection will be less varied.
When Sport Mart first announced they were shutting down the owners hoped someone might get word and make them an offer.
“There have been three or four discussions and so forth, not only for the whole business but parts of the business. As of right now nothing has been done. We’re really not holding out much hope that that will still happen,” said Clendenin.
Sport Mart was originally located in downtown Charleston. The family-owned business moved to the Town Center Mall but eventually landed at its current site at the end of the Patrick Street Bridge on MacCorkle Ave.