California

Goodbye, Sport Chalet: La Canada Flintridge Company Closing All Stores

Perhaps no other community will feel the sudden closing of Sport Chalet than those in La Canada Flintridge.

The sporting goods retailer started in 1959 when German immigrants Norbert and Irene olberz opened a small ski shop with their savings in La Canada.

The company's headquarters are also based there and a road named Sport Chalet Drive leads up to the building.

On Saturday, the "mom and pop" business that has since expanded to the giant 47-store chain abruptly announced it was closing all of its stores and has stopped selling merchandise online but offered no explanation.

"Thank you for your loyalty over the years," the statement said. "We hope to see you at our store closing sales."

While many shoppers were shocked to hear the news, several stores saw a stream of customers taking advantage of the 10 percent discounts being offered on everything in the store. A final closing date was not provided, but the retailer said locations will remain open for several weeks.

Vestis Retail Group, Sport Chalet's parent company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, the company announced in a statement. The Connecticut-based company acquired Sport Chalet in 2014 for about $17 million. At the time, Sport Chalet had about $52.5 million in debt and hadn't turned a profit in years.

Sport Chalet said it will continue to honor gift cards, store credits and rewards certificates at their locations through April 29.

Those who are unable to get to a store by then can transfer gift card balances to the retailer's sister stores, Eastern Mountain Sports or Bob's Stores.

The company was also asking anyone who has left sports equipment at a location for repairs, or has rented equipment from them, to return it before April 29.

The company reportedly employs almost 3,000 people at 47 stores in California, Nevada and Arizona, including 33 in Southern California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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