St. Albert Sport Mart closing
Parent company to expand Sport Chek in 2014
By: Viola Pruss
| Posted: Saturday, Jan 05, 2013 06:00 am
With one store closing, another one grows.
National sporting goods retailer FGL Sports Ltd. is closing 40 of its Sport Mart locations across the country. That means, come March 17, St. Albert shoppers will have to find another store for their sports equipment.
“This is about growing our most strategic and best position corporate banners, being Sport Chek and Atmosphere,” said company spokesman Brendon Arnold.
Arnold said the company surveyed which of its stores performed best at attracting customers. Sport Chek and Atmosphere surpassed Sport Mart in demand.
Sport Mart sells everything from athletic footwear to sports equipment, often at discount prices.
While some Sport Mart locations will be turned into Sport Cheks, the St. Albert location will close. FGL Sports plans to expand the Sport Chek store in St. Albert Centre in 2014. This will mean more products and job opportunities, Arnold said.
It also means stronger competition for Source for Sports, the only independently-owned sporting goods stores left in the city.
Owner Dave Ridd said Canadian Tire recently bought FGL Sports, which makes it difficult for small stores to keep up.
Source for Sports is a national buying group with more than 150 independently-owned stores across Canada.
Ridd said his two St. Albert locations continue to focus on customer service to compete with a larger selection at the big box stores.
He added that land is expensive and difficult to find in St. Albert so he’s not expecting to expand anytime soon.
“I think we have a pretty strong niche and we are really embraced in sports in the community,” he said.
“We try to give a lot back to the community and that’s how we feel we can succeed – by giving that extra service where the bigger stores don’t do that.”
Arnold said employees working at the Sport Mart location have an opportunity to transfer to the Sport Chek store.
“We definitely want to make sure that we take care of our employees on both banners,” he said.
The old Sport Mart location at 140 St. Albert Tr. will most likely be sold, he added.