Sport Chalet Closing After 57 Years

Sport Chalet started in 1959 when German immigrants Norbert and Irene Olberz bought a tiny La Cañada Flintridge ski shop, which they built into a publicly traded retailer with more than 50 locations.

On Saturday, the struggling sporting goods chain began going-out-of-business sales at its 47 stores and closed its online sales operation.

“We’re closing. Thank you for 57 great years,” Sport Chalet told customers in an email message.

The regional chain, which was purchased in 2014 by a Connecticut company named Vestis Retail Group, will remain open for several weeks while merchandise is cleared out, Sport Chalet said on its website.

Sport Chalet said it would continue to honor gift cards and loyalty rewards, but an internal memo obtained by The Times set a cutoff date of April 29. No closing date for the stores was given; the memo said “several weeks.”

The chain has 40 stores in California, mainly in the Southland, according to the website. It also operates five stores in Arizona and two in Las Vegas. The company didn’t say how many people would be losing their jobs, but as of March 30, 2014, the chain employed 1,200 full-time workers and 1,600 part-timers.

All Sport Chalet stores will remain open for “several weeks,” offering customers the opportunity to use their remaining rewards and gift cards, the company said. A final closing date was not immediately provided.

It also sent out an email to Sport Chalet customers, informing them of the imminent closures.

The sporting goods chain has about 40 stores in California, including nearly three dozen in the southern part of the state. Other locations include Arizona and Nevada.

Gift cards, reward certificates and store credits will be honored at the chain’s locations through April 29, the statement said. Customers who can’t get to a store by then can transfer gift card balances to Eastern Mountain Sports or Bob’s Stores, which are the retailer’s sister stores.

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