Princeton Sports announced Monday it will close its Columbia store after 36 years at Little Patuxent Parkway.
Owned and operated by Alan Davis, grandson of founders Samuel and Lucille Davis, Princeton Sports is known for its quality sports gear and personalized service. Samuel and Lucille Davis opened a Baltimore store in 1936 as a bike shop and Alan Davis opened the Columbia location in 1982.
The Baltimore store, on Falls Road, will remain open, according to a statement.
Alan Davis said that in the past year and a half, after a new stop light was installed near the store that resulted in bringing more traffic, he’s received several offers to buy the store and received an offer he “couldn’t say no to.” Davis said the past year has been one of the store’s best for sales, but that the choice came down to a “business decision.”
“The property got more valuable than the business was,” he said.
He declined to disclose the buyer of the 17,000-square-foot building or the sale price.
The store is holding a liquidation sale beginning March 8 and Davis said they plan to move out by May 1. All of the store’s employees have been offered positions at the Baltimore location.
Davis said he’s “heartbroken” to leave Howard County. He will begin manning the Baltimore store with his brother, Paul.
“I opened this store ... and have absolutely loved every day being part of Howard County, of being part of the community,” Davis said. “It was probably one of the hardest decisions of my life.”
Princeton Sports has continued to thrive over the years as online retailers have become more popular in part, Davis said, because of the premium his staff puts on customer service, even after a purchase. New bike owners receive a complimentary year of bike-care service, and ski buyers receive free waxing and sharpening for the life of their skis. Davis called the commitment the “Princeton pledge,” something he said sets the family’s stores apart from others.
“I feel like a proud parent, because I’ve been touched by not only so many awesome customers, but having the honor to work with so many people who have gone on and just done incredible things with their life,” Davis said. “Howard County’s done wonderful things for us and it’s very a special place.”