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March 1, 2013

Warrenton outdoors store suddenly out of business

The country’s economic situation put our Warrenton location at a disadvantage from the beginning.
— Jeff Smith, CEO
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Blue Ridge Mountain Sports abruptly closed its 5-year-old Warrenton store Thursday, Feb. 28.

The retailer — specializing in outdoor apparel and gear — had operated the 6,600-square foot Warrenton Village Center location since October 2007.

“The country’s economic situation put our Warrenton location at a disadvantage from the beginning,” CEO Jeff Smith said in a press release. “Despite the premature exit, our company really enjoyed the time we spent in Warrenton, which has a passionate outdoor community that is fortunate to live in a beautiful town in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”

Mr. Smith said he decided to close the “underperforming” store “to make the entire company stronger.”

Opening just as the Great Recession started, the store “was never able to gain footing in a weak nationwide retail environment and a competitive outdoor retail market that has grown to include many big box stores and Internet outlets,” he added.

But, Blue Ridge Mountain Sports did a poor job of marketing its Warrenton store, according to several people familiar with the business.

The store joined neither chamber of commerce. Although a regular advertiser in Mid-Atlantic outdoors sports publications, the company placed few ads in this market.

The local store occupied a fairly-prominent location near Staples, PetCo, Rite Aid and Edward Jones Investments in the shopping center that also includes Rankins Hardware and Peebles Department Store.

Blue Ridge started with a small Charlottesville store in 1972.

Technically headquartered in Troy (Fluvanna County), it has stores in:

• Blacksburg.

• Charlottesville.

• Hampton.

• Henrico County.

• Richmond.

• Virginia Beach.

• Madison, N.J.

• Princeton, N.J.

• Knoxville, Tenn., two stores.
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crc60 · March 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm
I did enjoy going in there and did so often whenever I was in the vicinity. I purchased occasional items as often as I could in this economy. I would have purchased more clothing if they ever stocked items for larger folks.

It was good while it lasted, but not a surprise.
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