Sports Authority closing; Glenwood Meadows owner hopes for new major sports retail tenant

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
The current Sports Authority store at Glenwood Meadows that's slated to close later this year due to the chain's bankruptcy, but where owners of the shopping center are hoping another sports retailer will move in.
John Stroud / Post Independent |

The decision last week by bankrupt sporting-goods chain Sports Authority to close all of its remaining stores, including the one at Glenwood Meadows, could well leave Glenwood Springs and other Western Slope markets without a general sporting-goods outlet.

That is, unless a buyer such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, the nation’s largest sporting-goods retailer, sees value in taking over what Sports Authority itself considered a profitable location, by most accounts, in an upcoming lease auction.

Meadows developer Robert Macgregor is certainly holding out hope that’s the case with one of the main anchor spaces at Glenwood’s primary retail center.

If not, “it would not only be bad for us, it would be very bad for the city,” he said.

Macgregor, president of Aspen-based Dunrene Real Estate Group, noted that when Sports Authority originally announced in March that it was filing for bankruptcy and immediately closing 140 of its lower-performing stores, the Glenwood store was not on the list.

“There’s no reason to believe, short of having inside numbers, that they weren’t making money here,” Macgregor said Monday. “I would be very surprised if there isn’t significant interest from a major sporting retailer.”

Sports Authority’s troubles were much bigger than individual store performance, he said.

Even though an increase in online sales remains one of the challenges for it and other large retailers, there’s still a desire for “trying something on” and the personalized service a consumer can only get at a physical store location, Macgregor noted.

Markets such as Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction, which have few other options for general sporting goods such as athletic shoes, equipment and apparel, especially for youth and prep athletes, would seem to be ripe for another retailer to move in.

Officials from Englewood-based Sports Authority have not commented on the timeline for closing the remaining stores, including the 31 it operates in Colorado. The Denver Post reported Tuesday that going-out-of-business sales would start Thursday at all of the bankrupt retailer’s 460 stores.

Some of the chain’s 15,000 employees have already been given notice that their jobs are being terminated, including reportedly some in Glenwood Springs this past week.

If no one steps up to take over the Meadows lease by the time the local store closes, it would leave Glenwood Springs without any general sporting-goods stores.

The Vail Resorts-owned Mountain Sports Outlet on Sixth Street also closed earlier this year, citing uncertainty around the Grand Avenue bridge project and the fact that state Highway 82 will no longer run along Sixth once the new bridge is completed.

Perhaps hardest hit among consumers would be prep athletes and parents of younger athletes, for whom Sports Authority has been the go-to for shoes and equipment.

“Our kids use it a lot, sure,” said Craig Denney, athletic director at Glenwood Springs High School.

“At the high school level in particular it is the place to go if you’re looking for something that you need,” he said. “For the younger kids, when mom and dad start getting them into sports, it’s where you go.

“We’re a pretty big extended community, and it’s definitely nice to have a sporting-goods store here,” Denney said.

Sporting goods fall into the “miscellaneous retail” category for Glenwood Springs city sales tax collection purposes. That category, which also includes jewelry stores and flower shops, plus liquor and marijuana sales, brought in more than $1.8 million in sales taxes last year, representing about 10 percent of all retail sales in the city.

Other Western Slope Sports Authority locations include Montrose, Durango and Steamboat Springs.