NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After 42 years, one of Nashville's first locally-owned sporting goods stores has been set to close.
David Graeflin, owner of The Athlete’s House, said he's retiring and added the time was right to close the store.
“It’s good and bad at the same time,” said David Graeflin. “I will miss our customers. I will miss my employees. I won’t miss the hassle of every day.”
Now “Store Closing” and “Everything Must Go” signs have filled the 5,000 square foot store on Portland Avenue. As news of the pending closing spreads, customers have been lining up to buy a final pair of running shoes or take advantage of discounts on other clothing and sporting goods.
“There are other athletic stores in the greater Nashville area, but there is nothing like The Athlete’s House,” said Paulette Gentry, a longtime customer. “ This has been the place.”
Graeflin, age 71, ran track for Vanderbilt University and opened the store in 1973 when he couldn’t find anywhere to buy running shoes.
“I had time on my hands I thought I would start a store,” recalled Graeflin. “ This was the only place I could afford in this neighborhood.”
Over the years, The Athlete’s House has become a resource for runners of all ages from across the area.
“They have provided so much support to everybody who is in any kind of training in the greater Nashville area,” said Gentry.
Graeflin has been the owner of the building, and said once the store closes, he hopes to rent it to another tenant.
David said the store will close once all the merchandise has been sold. He said he's aiming for October, but it may be sooner.
Right now, the entire store has been set at 20 percent off, and items will remain discounted until they sell.