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Princeton Sports closing one location after selling building

Published March 9, 2018
Princeton Sports' Columbia location.

BALTIMORE (BRAIN) — Princeton Sports, a third-generation ski and bike retailer that dates to 1936, is closing one of its two locations after selling the real estate.

The retailer began a liquidation sale at its 17,000-square foot Columbia, Maryland, store on Thursday. Alan Davis, who owns the business with his brother Paul, said they received many unsolicited offers for the building on Little Patuxent Parkway, especially after a new stop light was installed nearby, bringing in more traffic. He said the store is one of the few free-standing retail locations in the city. He has agreed not to disclose the identity of the building's buyer or its future use.

Davis opened the location in 1982. Princeton Sports was founded in the 1930s as a bike rental business in Baltimore. Alan and Paul joined the business after college and after interning at other retail businesses. Their parents owned both locations and the brothers bought the real estate from their parents when they retired. After the Columbia location is closed, the brothers will share management of the Baltimore location.

Davis said the closing comes after one of the store's best seasons ever.

"Sales were incredible last year," he said. The store carries Specialized, Giant, and Cannondale. He said Specialized mountain bikes and e-MTBs were hot categories last year and he's optimistic about the growth of the e-bike category. But he said it won't be hard to step back from years of long hours at the store.

"Why not scale back a little?" asked Davis, who turns 60 in two weeks. "The bike industry is changing so much. We are ahead of the curve: it's better to get out before you are forced out. With the demands that companies are making on you, it's just not as much fun as it used to be ... We may be the first bike shop to close because we wanted to."
Davis said he's enjoyed visiting with longtime customers, friends and former employees who have stopped by since the store closure was announced.
"It's not every day when people start crying in your store ... " he said. 

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