After helping inspire the next generation of local athletes for over three decades, a popular independent sports shop in Perth will close its doors next month in another blow to the city centre.
Owner of Campus Sports Steven Gilbert confirmed with “profound sadness” that his business will trade for the final time on April 23 after a “very challenging” last two years.
The sports shop was a mainstay on the Fair City’s High Street for over 30 years before moving to a larger unit on South Street in 2016.
The store has offered everything from racket re-stringing, running shoe fittings, garment personalisation such as football kits, bags, t-shirts and hoodies, and sports equipment for all ages.
Owner Steven has also been a champion of local youth sporting events in the region over the years, including Campus Sports sponsoring a number of football and badminton tournaments.
Steven looked at the possibility of moving his store to a more affordable unit nearby or even to an online only business model.
However, after those avenues proved fruitless he announced the end of an era in a message to customers yesterday.
“The lease on our current shop is up for renewal in May, however, the terms of this are not suitable for an independent retail business in the current climate,” he said.
“Having ruled out the possibility to move to an affordable location in town with the space required for our needs, we had looked into the option of moving the business to operate from a unit becoming online only.
This is an area in which the business has done well in recent years, most especially with Macron teamwear.
“However, a number of the brands which we currently range, and have done for many years, have the stipulation that independent businesses they supply must have a bricks-and-mortar store, and would cease trading with us if we moved to being online only.
“This is to in turn support independents with the greater overhead costs a store incurs than being online only.
“I have therefore made the difficult decision to close Campus Sports.
“Our last day will be April 23 and we will honour vouchers up until this time.”
Steven said the increasing presence of online shopping – driven on by the pandemic lockdowns – has put major pressure on independent businesses and led to a drop in footfall in Perth’s city centre.
“The last two years have been very challenging,” he revealed.
“There has been a change in buying habits to online amongst a wider demographic than ever before, along with a reduction in footfall in Perth itself.
“Partly, as a result of COVID as people stayed and worked from home, and partly as a number of larger stores in the city centre have closed.
“These are factors that haven’t helped independent businesses such as ours.
“Compounding this have been the global supply chain issues, which have seen many brands of ours have limited to no stock for the last quarter of 2021 and, in some cases, since the summer.
“The situation has been even more acute at the start of this year, as January and February product launches from many different brands and sports have been pushed back to April, May and beyond.”
But Steven said he will never forget the local community and customers who have supported his shop over the past few years.
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to those customers who have continued to shop with us over the years, doing their part to support a local, independent retailer,” he said.
“I hope that they continue to do so with the other vast array of local, independent businesses in Perth to keep our streets thriving as much as possible in these difficult times.”
In response a number of locals paid their thanks to Steven and his Campus Sports shop on social media.
One said: “All the best Steve/Campus Sports you will all be very much missed. Been a customer since the beginning in the High Street days. Customer service has always been second to none. All the best for the future.”
Another wrote: “Such a tragedy, another one of our quality shops going. Wishing you all the best in the next venture.”
One customer posted: “So sorry to hear this. You have always been our go-to shop, particularly for football, swimming and hockey for many a year.”