Sports Authority, the once largest sporting goods store chain in the nation is shutting its doors. The retail giant filed for bankruptcy in March. Now all 463 stores including 12 in the bay area will be shuttered for good.
Now thousands of people are left scrambling looking for a job. Employees at the Tampa stores referred us to corporate and wouldn’t speak with us on camera Thursday, but say it impacts more than 250 employees in the bay area. Nationwide the company employees nearly 16,000 people according to Forbes Magazine.
“You don’t want anybody to lose their job. I mean it’s terrible,” said shopper Tom Crawley.
Managers we reached out to couldn’t tell us when stores will close but said they were told liquidators could be coming in as early as next week. While employees were told it could take up to three months before they lose their jobs with liquidators expected some were told they could be out of a job then and there.
“Tampa is not an area where it's that easy to find jobs at least not good jobs,” said Crawley.
“I think they can go to places like Dicks,” said shopper Jack Cornwell.
While shoppers are sympathetic they admit it’s easier to buy online. Prices are usually cheaper and some say it beats fighting traffic to get deals but some things you need to see in person.
“I had to go to the store because I didn’t want to order a hat online. I wanted to really see what quality the hat is and how it would fit. Things like that,” said Crawley.
It’s that in store experience many will miss.
“I’ve been in Clearwater all my life and I just want to see it one more time,” said Cornwell.
And with not much time left the deal signs are out. The Sports Authority store on Fowler is selling everything 40 to 60% off.
While some of the employees have jobs lined up others don’t and won’t be getting severance pay.
If you need help finding a job in the bay area below are links to job resources in both Hillsborough and Pinellas County.
The Employ Florida Marketplace is job seekers one-stop online resource for job listings, education and training opportunities, career building assistance and much more: www.employflorida.com