The City Sports Farewell Letter To Its Boston Customers Is Positively Heartbreaking

The subject line read: "It's been a good run." Cue the buckets of tears for thousands of customers who thought the Boston-based City Sports brand was just as permanent a piece of Beantown as Fenway Park. The Fenway neighborhood is, in fact, where the company opened its first store. But after failing to find a buyer who would keep City Sports doors open, the retailer formally announced on Thursday that City Sports will close all of its 26 locations permanently next month, and the company's final goodbye to customers is heartbreaking.

While the retailer had only been around for just over three decades, the brand became synonymous with the best in sporting goods for many along the Eastern seaboard. And the goodbye email from the company describes exactly why founders and high school buddies Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin started City Sports: "We opened in 1983 when two guys realized there was nowhere to buy a basketball inflating needle in Boston." The company first reached out to longtime retail executive Marty Hanaka to take over and find a way to turn around the decline in sales. Then, after filing for bankruptcy in October, executives announced plans to shut down eight of its locations.

But in the email sent out Thursday afternoon, the City Sports team confirmed customers' worst fears and expressed gratitude for any person who walked into one of its stores:

Thank you to every customer who stepped through our doors. We know there are a lot of you because you can't walk around Boston, Providence, Burlington, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC or any airport in America without seeing those iconic City Sports t-shirts.

And iconic they were. For any Bostonian, athletic or not, the City Sports tee was an emblem displaying the owner's hometown. As the brand expanded to other locations on the East Coast, the offering of tees grew as well to give runners, athletes, and fitness folks of all kinds a way to connect their active lifestyles to their own cities. The team went on to encourage customers to "keeping wearing that City Sports tee with pride" and give a nod or high-five when they come across anyone else doing the same.

The team also addressed in the email the constant battle for local businesses to survive in the face of big-box retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods.

We encourage you to support local businesses when City Sports is no longer in your neighborhood. Like us, it's their livelihood. Like us, they eat, sleep, and breathe running shoes and tennis racquets.

But what if I can't imagine a neighborhood without my beloved City Sports? Time to move to the Midwest, where the brand never existed anyway.

City Sports will hold going-out-business sales beginning on Friday, so lovers of the brand have a few weeks to stock up on the classic T-shirts in every color combo.