The mood was oddly cheerful as Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” played on the overhead speakers of City Sports on near Boston University.
Store employees laughed and happily assisted customers searching through the racks of outdoor gear, colorful sneakers and winter apparel, all marked 10 to 30 percent off. But this is no regular sale.
After more than 30 years open, Boston-based sports retailer City Sports is closing its doors.
The small chain filed for bankruptcy in October and closed eight of its 26 locations, according to The Boston Globe. The Globe states that the company failed to find a buyer for its remaining 18 stores, and that “the company’s assets will be sold to Hilco Merchant Resources LLC … and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC of Boston.”
Store manager Erin Boyd, who’s worked at City Sports for five years, said employees found out about the closings on Tuesday night. By Wednesday, the news was public information.
“It was sad,” Boyd said of employees hearing the somber news. “Everyone’s just really bummed.”
Boyd said she started at City Sports working part-time and moved up the ladder to her current position. City Sports was “part of her life,” a part that will now end.
“I’m looking for a job,” she said.
Boyd said stores will sell through all the merchandise, along with whatever’s left in warehouses, before officially calling it quits. She said employees have been told that December 31 is the absolute last day for City Sports.
Since the announcement, Boyd said there’s been a steady stream of new customers and regulars coming by and paying their respects. Plenty of new faces coming into the store is what Boyd said was “the best part of a crappy situation.”
George Giannakis walked into City Sports for the first time on Friday, hoping to grab some merchandise on sale. Giannakis said he had never visited the store before but liked that it was an alternative from a big-box competitor.
“In an area with so much foot traffic, it’s nice to have a store like this,” he said. “It’s a little disappointing that it’s closing.”
According to Boyd, one iconic item has been a popular purchase since Wednesday.
“Our best-selling item is our City Sports tee,” she said.
That exact item is what Charona Blyden walked out holding on Friday afternoon.
“It’s a Boston staple,” Blyden said, regarding the store.
Blyden said she started going to the store as a BU student in 2002. For the past 13 years, she’s visited the store near BU and the location in Porter Square for running shoes and apparel.
“It’s a shame that they couldn’t keep the ones that were profitable going,” Blyden said. “The employees are so helpful. You’re not going to get that online.”
Even though Blyden said she has several other City Sports tees, she said she needed to buy one last one for her collection. She clutched her gray tee close as she spoke.
“I’ll put it in a time capsule and pull it out in 10 years,” Blyden said with a laugh.