After 46 years of racing, Olympia Sports closes its doors

Olympia Sports in Falmouth displays sale signs in its windows in October 2019. Staff Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Maine-based sports retailer Olympia Sports, recently acquired by a private equity firm, will close all of its stores by the end of September.

A company spokesperson confirmed that all 35 stores will close by the end of September and that all stores have already started clearance sales. The spokeswoman said she did not know the total number of employees who would be affected.

Olympia Sports was founded in 1975 by Edward Manganello, a native of Munjoy Hill in Portland and former math teacher at Bonny Eagle High School in Standish. He opened the first store in the Maine Mall in South Portland, selling shoes, sports equipment and clothing. As of 2013, the company operated 226 locations from Maine to Virginia and planned to expand by 20 stores per year.

Then Denver-based running and active lifestyle brand JackRabbit purchased the company in 2019. At the time, then-president Ed Manganello told the News Center Maine, “ We look forward to passing Olympia to the JackRabbit family and believe they will be outstanding stewards of Olympia. Mark.”

Calls to current Olympia Sports CEO Mark Coffey went unreturned by press time.

JackRabbit was acquired in 2017 by California-based private equity firm CriticalPoint Capital, which specializes in “business divestitures, businesses in transition and special situations,” according to its website. CriticalPoint also purchased Shoes.com from Walmart in October 2020. JackRabbit, Olympia Sports and Shoes.Com were consolidated under the Denver-based platform “Running Specialty Group”, whose CEO is Bill Kirkendal. In December 2021, CriticalPoint sold Jack Rabbit to North Carolina running shoe company Fleet Feet.

Calls and messages to CriticalPoint seeking comment on the decision to liquidate Olympia Sports were not immediately returned.

Employees contacted at several stores were upset by the news but did not want to be identified in this story as they feared losing their jobs sooner. At stores in Berlin, VT, Potsdam, NY, Foxborough, MA and Rockland, Almost Isle and South Portland in Maine, employees have all confirmed that their stores are closing and holding clearance sales.

“It’s a little sensitive for a lot of store managers,” said a Massachusetts store manager who didn’t want to be named. “A lot of people have been here for over 30 years. A lot of people, they’ve never worked anywhere else. We only found out on Monday morning, and we’re already having the closing sale… It’s still a bit sensitive and raw for a lot of people.

This story will be updated.


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