Wholesale Sports closes in Lacey

California chain reportedly acquired store before closure

rboone@theolympian.comMarch 26, 2013 

The Wholesale Sports store in Lacey, which once was a Sportsman’s Warehouse, has closed.

The store, which was part of Lacey Marketplace – a shopping center at Marvin Road and Martin Way that also is home to Costco Wholesale and Best Buy – closed this month, although its last day of business was not immediately clear.

A check of the business on Monday showed two signs on the front door, one which read, “Sorry, we are no longer open for business,” and another sign which gave customers an indication that it was about to close. “In preparation for the closing of this location, we will no longer be accepting checks.”

Sportsman’s Warehouse chief marketing officer Karen Seaman shed some light on the transition on Monday, pointing out that Sportsman’s, based in the Salt Lake City area, acquired 10 Wholesale Sports stores on March 11 from the United Farmers of Alberta, the parent group to Wholesale Sports. The acquisitions included Wholesale stores in Kennewick, Silverdale, Vancouver, Wash., and Federal Way.

Another four stores, including the one in Lacey, were acquired by the Alamo Group of California.

“It was their decision to close these locations,” according to a Wholesale Sports company statement posted on its Facebook page.

Alamo Group owner Don Gaube could not be reached Monday.

Sportsman’s Warehouse first entered the Thurston County market and opened in Lacey about a year before Cabela’s and its 182,000-square-foot store arrived in Hawks Prairie in 2007.

Sportsman’s Warehouse then fell on hard times, according to the trade publication Sporting Goods Intelligence, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2009, two months after transferring ownership of 15 stores to the United Farmers of Alberta as payment on a $30 million bridge loan from the UFA.

The UFA later changed the name of the stores to Wholesale Sports, according to the trade publication.

On Monday, customers continued to drive up and park in the Lacey Wholesale Sports parking lot, including Bill and Betty Jolly of Centralia.

The Jollys, surprised by the closure, said they were frequent visitors to the store, and said it had a good selection of fishing equipment and clothes. They also shop at Cabela’s.

“There are things that were unique to both stores,” Bill Jolly said.

One thing Betty Jolly preferred about Wholesale Sports is that, unlike Cabela’s, which sells everything under the Cabela’s brand, it sold a variety of brand-name outerwear.

“It’s just a personal choice,” she said.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com theolympian.com/bizblog

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