One way to gauge the validity of lamestream media reports that the economy is doing well and recovered from the Great Recession of 2008/09 is how the retail world of recreation is doing. Recreation depends on the availability of disposable income. When times are tight, having fun gets sacrificed for paying the bills and putting food on the table. In a strong economy, more people can afford time off and toys to play with.
When I heard Sports Authority was filing for bankruptcy I could have made the mental link to the state of the economy, but since they don’t carry much if any hardware I’m interested in, it didn’t register. However, when I heard about Sport Chalet closing 8 of their 30 odd stores that hit home. This was just part of the plan when the Vestis Retail Group, the parent company of Sport Chalet and Eastern Mountain Sports, filed for bankruptcy.
Although it is ancient retail history now, Sport Chalet was the retail outlet of choice when I first began earning my turns, three decades ago. They were the only ones who had an inkling of what backcountry skiing was, but they were invested in the outdoors enough to know that even in Los Angeles county there existed ski mountaineers looking for alpine touring and telemark gear. They were the only ones who carried Paul Ramer’s classic, Universal binding. In the ski boot world they had specialized ski touring boots like the Asolo Snowfield and Extreme, and less known but still available, the Koflach Voluga. Most importantly, they carried climbing skins.
The news that their parent company had filed for bankruptcy is a sad testimonial that while technology has progressed since the 80s, market conditions have not.
The Consumerist: EMS & Sport Chalet file for bankruptcy