ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Gary King Sporting Goods is calling it quits after decades of being the place where outdoor enthusiasts here could find everything from cross-country skis to freeze-dried food.
Bumps in the economy and the arrival of big-box stores have eaten away at sales, prompting the King family to sell everything to pay creditors.
The doors of the Midtown Anchorage store will close in January once the remaining inventory is sold, store manager Jim King said.
The company announced last fall that it was filing for bankruptcy protection and working out a schedule to pay about $600,000 to a handful of creditors.
But the store has continued to lose money over the past year, King said. The creditor debt is still outstanding, he said.
In the early 1980s, Gary King was the place to shop for outdoor gear. It was not uncommon for customers to drop $1,000 per visit, King said. But those days began to fade when Anchorage suffered a real estate collapse in 1986, he said.
No knockout punch put Gary King Sporting Goods on the floor. Rather, it was a financial death by a thousand cuts.
Big-box retailers in the 1990s took business, some brands it offered exclusively now are carried at other shops and oil-related jobs have been replaced by lower-paying work.
''It has been gut-wrenching for the past few years,'' said Gary King Jr., who described how his father started selling skis out of the living room of the family's home 48 years ago.
His brother Jim King said the store changed, dumping some products that didn't sell, such as hockey gear and weightlifting equipment.
''But nobody buys anything unless it's on sale anymore,'' he told the Anchorage Daily News. ''And the last few tent sales we had just didn't produce the sales, either.''
The company opened stores in Wasilla and Kenai during the 1980s, but they were closed as market share declined.
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