Eastbay, the Company Behind the Iconic '90s Sneaker Catalog, To Close Its Doors For Good
Remember the days of passing around those Eastbay catalogs in school, fantasizing with your friends over the latest sneaker? Sadly, the world of technology has led us further away from those much simpler times, and the iconic retailer has come to grips with this realization.
On Tuesday, Wisconsin Public Radio dropped the bombshell that the famed sports company would close down for good in 2023. Over 200 employees will be laid off when Eastbay shuts the doors of its Wausau, Wisconsin headquarters. This is the same town where the company was founded in 1980 and was still a local icon, despite its fall from grace.
Eastbay launched its own clothing line in 1990 that consisted of jerseys, jackets, and other sports paraphernalia. Most notable in operation was the massive collection of sneakers offered in its monthly magazines. Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Converse, and other brands helped drive the company's popularity, and in 1997, Eastbay was acquired by Foot Locker Inc. BSN SPORTS purchased it from Foot Locker this year.
While the popular sneaker books were loved through the early 2000s, online shopping replaced the need for manual ordering and mailing in check payments. The Wausau's Chamber of Commerce saw the closure from a mile away, pointing to a less busy parking lot at Eastbay headquarters and decreased operations.
"You drive around and look at what's going on, and you see diminished numbers... and those are warnings," stated Dave Eckmann, President, and CEO of the Wausau Chamber of Commerce.
The layoffs will begin in January, with 162 employees expected out by the end of the month. The remaining 48 will receive their walking papers by April. No severance package has been revealed.
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