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Sneakerhead Fave Eastbay Says Goodbye

After 43 years, sports retailer Eastbay is shutting its doors, marking the end of an era for sneakerheads.

“We’re saying goodbye to Eastbay at the end of December 2022,” the Foot Locker Inc.-owned company said on its website. “We encourage you to shop at champssports.com to find great deals for your athletic shoes, clothing, and more.”

The announcement comes after Foot Locker said in June that it was selling its steam sales business to sports apparel distributor BSN Sports, a division of Varsity Brands. Foot Locker also stated it would fully consolidate the Eastbay.com retail website into the Champs Sports banner, completing the integration of those two nameplates that began in 2019.

In October, Foot Locker announced it would close the Wausau, Wisconsin-based distribution center in April, laying off approximately 210 people starting in January, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

In a statement, Wausau mayor Katie Rosenberg—a former Eastbay employee—said Eastbay and Foot Locker “have been employment pillars in our community for decades, so this is understandably hard news for our community.”

Eastbay was founded in 1980 by high school coaches Art Juedes and Rick Gering in Wausau, who were unsatisfied with the selection of running shoes available in their hometown. In 1997, the company joined the Foot Locker portfolio, and a year later, it entered the e-commerce market. But Eastbay is best known for its catalogues in the 1990s, which were a staple for early sneakerheads.

The news comes as Foot Locker announced leadership changes to support growth and enhance operational efficiency, as well as a planned transition of the company’s chief financial officer. In August, the company said its longtime chief executive officer and president, Richard Johnson, would be stepping down and taking on the role of executive chairman through January. Johnson is to be succeeded by former Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon.