The owner of a sports apparel store in Colorado Springs, Colorado, says he can no long afford to keep his doors open after purging the business of all Nike gear and apparel last fall. Now anything and everything must go.
Prime Time Sports owner Stephen Martin offered customers deep discounts this week, slashing prices by as much as 40 percent, KOAA News 5 reported. The last time customers saw savings like this was last year when Martin decided to rid the store of all Nike apparel after the company’s decision to feature former NFL star Colin Kaepernick as the face of its “Just Do It” ad campaign.
“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?” Martin told the station. “They have a monopoly on jerseys.”
Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, sparked outrage in 2016 after taking a knee during pregame performances of the national anthem as a form protest against police brutality and racial injustice in America. Other NFL players, including teammate Eric Reid and former Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall, also participated in the on-field demonstrations.
As the only full-service, licensed fan shop in the city, customers flocked to Martin’s store for their sporting goods needs. Although the business still carries all 32 NFL teams’ apparel, it doesn’t have any current players’ jerseys because of his decision to drop Nike. Martin even canceled an autographing session with Marshall at his store after the now-free agent chose to kneel during the anthem. Now, Martin is eating crow.
“As much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realized,” he said.
Speaking with KOAA, Martin said online sales have also been a major factor in the 15 percent dip in sales he’s seen over the past few years.
The store will remain open until nothing is left, and loyal customers said they plan to snag what they can.
“I spent probably $1,000 in this place over the years,” longtime patron Dave Huddie told staff on Monday upon learning the store was closing its doors. “A wallet, a hat, a blanket. I did it. I bought it.”
Huddie said he prefers to shop local and in-person, and vowed to return to Prime Time Sports before it closes for good.
While his anti-Nike stance ultimately cost him his business, Martin said he’s proud to walk away with his dignity.
“That part of the military respect that’s in me just cannot be sacrificed or compromised, as I believe Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick both did. I don’t like losing a business over it, but I rather be able to live with myself,” he said.
“I didn’t give in to big Nike and big dollars,” Martin added. “I did it my way.”
Watch more in the clip below.