Sports Authority to close Steamboat store | SteamboatToday.com

Sports Authority to close Steamboat store

Future unclear for building in Wildhorse Marketplace

Sports Authority was saddled with $1.1 billion in debt.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

The future of Sports Authority in Steamboat Springs is now certain, but it is unclear what will fill the void this summer in Wildhorse Marketplace.

Employees this week learned their store would be closing. The Steamboat store employs between 25 and 30 people and sells items that are not available anywhere else in town.

"It's unfortunate, because we've been a very profitable store," said manager Dan Harvey, who helped open the store as a Gart Sports in December 2004. "We've had a lot of community support, and a lot of people are disappointed we aren't going to be here."

According to bankruptcy court documents, going-out-of-business sales will begin around May 25 and continue through Aug. 31.

Harvey anticipated the liquidation sale would entail progressively offering a higher percentage off merchandise. The store was still taking in new inventory this week.

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"I got 10 pallets of tubes yesterday," Harvey said.

Englewood-based Sports Authority operates about 460 stores.

Steamboat was spared in the first round of 140 store closures, but Sport’s Authority’s attempts to restructure its business during the bankruptcy process were unsuccessful.

Sports Authority leases the Wildhorse building from JJB Family LLC, a New Jersey-based company formed, in part, by Steamboat resident Bonnie Bunker. Bunker’s husband, Karl Bunker, acts as the company manager.

He said they are receiving most of their information about the Sports Authority bankruptcy proceedings from the media.

Bunker said he recently traveled to Delaware, where Sports Authority’s assets were being auctioned. Behind closed doors, Bunker said, company executives, creditors and attorneys worked to hash out a deal.

Dow Jones reported a liquidator bought Sports Authority’s inventory for 101 percent of cost, plus a $1.8 million augment guarantee.

After the auction, Bunker said he was told Sport’s Authority’s Wildhorse lease could also be auctioned off.

“Hopefully, some other sporting company will buy that lease,” Bunker said.

Bunker did not want to disclose how much time Sports Authority still has on its lease.

If the lease is not sold, Bunker thinks the debt associated with time obligation on the lease would be hashed out by the bankruptcy court.

The Denver Post reported that Dick’s Sporting Goods will try to take over a few dozen of Sport’s Authority’s leases, which will be auctioned in June.

“There’s a small group of stores we would love to get,” Dick’s CEO Edward W. Stack said during an earnings call with analysts.

With two floors and a basement, the Wildhorse building has 27,000 square feet.

Bunker said there is a need for a store such as Sports Authority in Steamboat. In some cases, there is no where else to buy equipment for team sports such as lacrosse and hockey.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland