MC Sports

Michigan-based MC Sports is closing its store on Verona Road. The 31,000-square-foot store opened in 2000 as part of the redevelopment of Nakoma Plaza that included the addition of Home Depot and Staples.

One of the original tenants of the revamped Nakoma Plaza is closing its doors.

MC Sports, located between Home Depot and Staples at Verona Road and the Beltline, is scheduled to start Thursday a going-out-of-business sale. The 31,000 square-foot store is scheduled to close by the end of May. The move ends a nearly 16 year run for the Michigan-based retailer in the Madison market.

The decision appears to be the result of slumping sales, a growth in niche sports equipment retailers and the inability to work out a lease with the landlord, said Mitch Dorshorst, the store's manager.

"It’s never good news when you hear your business is closing," said Dorshorst,. "It’s been a staple in the strip mall so it'll be weird not having the store here."

Nakoma Plaza was a $4 million, open-air shopping center with 200,000 square-feet of retail when it opened in 1969 on 18 acres of land at the Beltline and what was then called Nakoma Road. Tenants included a 125,000 square-foot Arlan's Department Store and a 25,000 square-foot National Food Store. Other tenants were a Ben Franklin, Rennebohm Drugs, Northwest Fabrics and Aulik Cards, Gifts & Cameras.

In later years the shopping center was home to a Prange Way, Toys R' Us and Kohl's Food Store but in 1999 the center was razed to make way for a newly designed shopping center. Original tenants included the MC Sports, Home Depot, Staples, Cub Foods, JB's Art & Craft Mall and Kirlin's Hallmark.

MC Sports was founded in 1946 in Grand Rapids, Michigan as Michigan Clothiers and sold men's clothing and military surplus but in 1962 changed its name to MC Sporting Goods and focused on sporting equipment, footwear, and apparel.

The company has 80 stores in seven states with nine locations in Wisconsin. In addition to Madison, the company has stores in Plover, Delavan, Kenosha, Sheboygan, West Bend, Manitowoc, Wisconsin Dells and Onalaska.

The Madison store employs 12 people, said Dorshorst, who grew up in Cobb, is a graduate of UW-Madison and coaches youth basketball. The store is also in a market with Dick's Sporting Goods, Gander Mountain and Cabela's in addition to specialty sports retailers. They include the nearby Dorn Sporting Goods, that specializes in fishing, and Chalet Ski & Patio. There are also shops in the area that specialize in hockey, swimming, soccer, running, bow hunting and even curling.

"It’s pretty competitive," said Dorshorst, 28. "Madison is very niche so its hard for a store that sells everything to compete. It’s hard to do it all."

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Barry Adams covers regional and business news for the Wisconsin State Journal.