After more than 20 years in business, Prime Time Sports in Colorado Springs is closing up shop. The decision to shut down the sporting goods store comes almost six months after store owner Stephen Martin started boycotting one of the biggest brands in the industry.
Martin's boycott stretches back to September of
This protest was a divisive one, as many saw kneeling during the anthem as a sign of disrespect to the country and the people who have fought for our freedom. Although Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since he began the protest, Nike signed him on as the face of the 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" advertising campaign. Sports fans who were upset with Kaepernick's actions then directed their anger towards Nike.
Martin was one of these fans. After the Kaepernick ads dropped, Martin decided that his beliefs did not align with those of Nike and sold off all of his store's Nike inventory at highly discounted prices.
Martin knew this boycott would be bad for business. The North American sports industry predicted to earn about $69.4 billion from ticket and merchandise sales, media rights, and sponsorship fees. Nike alone makes all of the NFL jerseys on the market, in addition to the other merchandise and apparel they produce.
"Being a sports store without Nike is kind of like being a milk store without milk or a gas station without gas. How do you do it? They have a monopoly on jerseys," Martin said.
According to Martin's calculations, Nike merchandise made up between 40% and 50% of his store's inventory before he sold it. Martin's decision to rid his store of Nike merchandise would be akin to a limousine company deciding to not service business and corporate clients, who make up about 50% of a single week's limousine services.
The decision to cut a significant portion of the store's merchandise has certainly affected its profitability. Martin says that the store's sales have gone down by 15% over the past three years. He says there are other factors affecting the numbers as well. About 85% of a company's customers live within a 5-mile radius of the brick-and-mortar business and they are likely to see the signage for that business at least 50 times a week. Without that outdoor signage or storefront, general mall traffic has been decreasing. Consumers' have also tended towards buying more items online over the past few years.
While factories in America made $5.3 trillion worth of goods in 2016, Martin predicts his store will no longer be selling any by March. Past due rent bills got the better of the store owner, leading him to tell his nine employees that the store's closing was in the near future.
All merchandise in Prime Time Sports is now 40% off. Once all of the goods are gone, the store will close down. Despite his reluctance to lock the store's doors for good, Martin has no regrets about his boycott.
"I didn't give in to big Nike and big dollars. I didn’t give in. I did it my way," Martin said.