ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth Olympia Sports store will stay open, said Joanne Kenny, the company’s corporate communications director, despite the planned closing of roughly half of Olympia’s locations after its acquisition by national retailer JackRabbit.
JackRabbit, a retailer that specializes in running and active lifestyle brands, announced this week that it had acquired Olympia Sports, which was founded in Maine in 1975.
The leveraged buyout of the sporting goods store means JackRabbit will own certain assets and liabilities, including Olympia’s online presence and brand, according to a press release.
JackRabbit is in turn owned by private equity firm CriticalPoint Capital.
According to the Portland Press Herald, the company does plan mass layoffs, defined by law as at least 50 workers and a third of the workforce.
Department of Labor spokeswoman Jessica Picard said the company hasn’t actually filed a notice — it’s expected in the next couple of weeks — so the department doesn’t know how many layoffs are planned.
The state will send its Rapid Response services team to help workers find other jobs once the company files.
Olympia Sports, which was started by former math teacher and Portland native Edward Manganello, expanded from its original location in the Maine Mall to include locations from Maine to Virginia.
“Olympia Sports, the Manganello family and our dedicated employees have tirelessly served our customers and communities for nearly five decades,” said Manganello in a statement.
“We would like to thank everyone who has been involved in our success — especially our employees. We have accomplished great things together. We look forward to transitioning Olympia to the JackRabbit family and believe they will be outstanding stewards of the Olympia brand and its long-standing customers and vendors.”
Olympia’s President Dick Coffey told the Press Herald in 2011 that despite facing strong competition from online retailers, the company had been able to grow in part because it opened locations in towns without a large retail presence.
“We went to smaller, remote markets that have little or no competition. There is quite a need there,” Coffey said at the time. “If you have a young family with a bunch of athletes, we like to think we carry the stuff you are looking for.”
JackRabbit, which had 62 stores in 18 states at the beginning of the summer and also recently purchased Nashville, Tenn.-based Rhythm Running, will operate 135 brick and mortar stores with the addition of Olympia Sports.