By Jason KUROSU
Sporting goods giant Sports Chalet has been sold to Vestis Retail Group, which also owns Eastern Mountain Sports and Bob’s Stores. The Connecticut-based group purchased Sports Chalet for $17 million, bringing 55 years of local ownership to a close.
Sports Chalet was founded in 1959 by Norbert and Irene Olberz, whose original store was a ski shop in La Cañada. In 1981, the second store opened in Huntington Beach beginning an expansion that would result in 51 stores throughout California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Olberz passed away in 2011.
The addition of Sports Chalet gives Vestis an ample share of the nation’s sports retailers, allowing for increased competition with other big sports retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods. The addition of Sport Chalet gives Vestis over 150 sporting goods stores nationwide.
“Sport Chalet greatly strengthens our position in the active lifestyle and outdoor categories, provides scale from which to grow, and diversifies our geographic footprint,” stated Vestis CEO Mark Walsh.
Sport Chalet will continue to operate under its existing name and Vestis does not anticipate that any stores will close as a result of the sale.
Craig L. Levra, Sports Chalet CEO, will retain his position.
In a statement, Levra said, “For the past year, we have methodically explored a wide range of options to position Sport Chalet for growth and to further our strategic initiatives. We believe Vestis is the ideal partner given its base of stores in the Eastern U.S. and synergistic vendor relationships, marketing focus and inventory platforms. We believe we will be very well positioned to compete in today’s retail environment as part of a larger organization with significant scale advantages and broad geographic reach.”