The athletic retail playing field is getting smaller.
While a number of chains have either closed or filed for bankruptcy in recent weeks — thanks to competition from big-box discounters, national chains and online stores — at least one independent store is trying to buck the trend: Sportie LA.
The regional chain, founded by Isack Fadlon and sister Orna Amzaleg, was recognized recently for 30 years of being a local retailer.
“Independent stores such as Sportie LA make up the fabric of Los Angeles retail,” said City of Los Angeles Councilmember for District 5, Paul Koretz. “They are a big part of what makes the city so vibrant, and we’re thrilled to celebrate this momentous anniversary with them. We support everything Isack and his family are doing to ensure that Melrose remains a lively, exciting destination for locals and visitors alike.”
Sportie LA opened its first store, at 7753 Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood, in late 1985. The retailer, a favorite among sneaker collectors, eventually owned as many as six stores, though some have since closed, and an e-commerce site.
The premise in the early days was to cram as much interesting product into the 800-square-foot store, Fadlon told Footwear News in 2011. Back then, the store was known for deep bins overflowing with sneakers, sending shoppers on a scavenger hunt of sorts.
“With the blink of an eye, it seems, 30 years have passed and our baby has all grown up,” said Fadlon. “Sportie LA has surpassed all of our expectations. It has emerged as a testament to our love of Los Angeles and of the sneaker world. We have been fortunate to work with so many incredible people in the industry and to have such wonderful and loyal customers. We look forward to the next phase of our journey.”