New England

Olympia Sports Will Shutter Dozens of Stores After Acquisition

The Maine-based company was bought out by JackRabbit, another athletic and running retailer

A Maine company has been bought out and layoffs are on the not-so-distant horizon.

Olympia Sports, an athletic supply retailer in Westbrook, Maine, announced this week it will shutter dozes of stores across New England and beyond.

The company was bought out by JackRabbit, another athletic and running retailer.

With the announcement from JackRabbit of the acquisition, Olympia Sports confirmed it will shutter dozens of stores across New England and beyond.

The more-than-40-year-old chain has about 150 stores stretching from Maine to Virginia, about half of which are slated to close by January 2020 after liquidation sales.

In Maine eight of 16 stores are closing, including the Olympia Sports location in Freeport where Tristan Andrew is an assistant manager.

"It was shocking at first," Andrew said. "I've been here five years now, and having to hear that Olympia's been bought out and the store's closing, it's definitely a shock."

Staff at Maine state career centers, operated by the Department of Labor, say they're prepared to help any employees in need.

Having months of lead time is a big help.

"We know it's coming," said John Wagner, an employment training specialist at the Southern Midcoast Career Center. "We have a team that's up and running ... we'll try to get a hold of [Olympia employees] and sit them down about what their options are.

Wagner believes many of the alternatives the center could help find for employees would be in retail, but, with additional training, some workers could find themselves on another career path.

Maine's aging population has contributed to thousands of job openings and the economy is good enough right now that some Olympia Sports workers could fill them.

"Bath Iron Works is hiring 1000 people right now, Wayfair's looking for 100 people," Wagner said.

Wagner also says state career centers will be learning more from Olympia sports in the coming weeks about how the closures will happen, which will help with placement.

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