December 03, 2019
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Half of Olympia Sports stores to close after sale to California firm

Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times
Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times
The former Olympia Sports in Houlton that closed at the end of 2018.

Olympia Sports, a Westbrook-based sporting goods chain that opened its first store in The Maine Mall in 1975, was sold to JackRabbit, a seller of athletic footwear, apparel and accessories, the companies said Wednesday.

Half of Olympia’s more than 150 stores will close as a result of the acquisition, Olympia communications manager Joanne Kenny said. She would not specify which stores nor the timing. She said the company still is talking with employees.

JackRabbit said it bought certain assets and liabilities of Olympia, including its online presence and the “Olympia Sports” brand. It plans to continue operating the stores it bought under Olympia’s name.

“We look forward to transitioning Olympia to the JackRabbit family and believe they will be outstanding stewards of the Olympia brand and its long-standing customers and vendors,” Ed Manganello, president of Olympia Sports, said in a prepared statement. The company has been privately owned by the Manganello family.

Rumors of the sale of Olympia, which has several thousand employees across the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Midwest, first emerged Tuesday. An Olympia manager would only confirm Tuesday that some stores might close, but did not specify the timing.

“We are not going out of business, but some stores might close,” said Carlene Kurowski, director of marketing at Olympia. Employees were notified of the move Tuesday, she said.

Kurowski said that Olympia has been closing stores over the past five to six years. It has decreased from more than 200 stores to more than 150 now. She said more than 20 of those are in Maine.

A Maine Department of Labor spokesperson said the labor department is in contact with company representatives and expects to receive a WARN notice in the next couple of weeks.

CriticalPoint Capital, a Manhattan Beach, California-based investment firm which owns JackRabbit, did not reveal details of the acquisition, including the price and when the deal would close. It also did not disclose if there would be layoffs or store closings.

However, JackRabbit executives said in a news release that with the addition of Olympia, the consolidated company will operate 135 brick-and-mortar stores.

“This acquisition continues JackRabbit’s expansion and commitment to providing the most complete, high-performance product offerings, services, and experiences to the active lifestyle fan across all markets and channels,” said Bill Kirkendall, CEO of JackRabbit. “Additionally, we will continue to operate the acquired stores under the Olympia Sports banner.”

JackRabbit has specialty retail stores in 17 states. Its website does not show any yet in Maine. It also sells via its e-commerce sites jackrabbit.com, clevertraining.com and surfoutfitter.com.

JackRabbit boosted its presence in the active-lifestyle market segment in 2017 through a joint venture with Rogue Training, a training company for runners, and in 2018 with the acquisition of Clever Training, a world-class provider of fitness technology and accessories.

 

 



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