The beloved footwear institution that inspired many to study sneakers as a craft will no longer be operational come 2023.
After 43 years of operation, Eastbay is shutting its doors for good at the end of 2022. The sneaker giant, which spawned a generation of budding footwear enthusiasts eagerly circling their favorite pairs of kicks while demolishing a bowl of cereal in the morning, announced the news on its website.
“We’re saying goodbye to Eastbay at the end of December 2022. We encourage you to shop at champssports.com to find great deals for your athletic shoes, clothing, and more,” the company said on its site.
Closures inevitably come with layoffs, and Wisconsin Public Radio reports about 210 people will lose their job at the central Wisconsin headquarters, the same city where the company was founded by entrepreneurs Art Juedes and Rick Gering. Terminations will begin in late January and the center will close for good by the end of April. Eastbay will maintain a call center and some corporate positions in Wassau.
“Eastbay and Foot Locker have been employment pillars in our community for decades so this is understandably hard news for our community and the 200 employees who are affected,” Wausau Mayor and former Eastbay employee Katie Rosenberg said.
Lauded as an encyclopedia for sneakerheads, the tradition of enthusiastically looking at the hottest drops week by week contributed to the current generation of adults purchasing the same sneakers they yearned to wear in their youths. While flipping through the colorful catalog, one would likely find information on each shoe’s features, tech specs and the various colorways available.
In the pre-internet, SNKRS, and Confirmed app era, it was basically a direct link between consumer and corporation. As corporations pivoted to an e-commerce lifestyle, the need for a physical mailer became obsolete, consequently ending Eastbay’s reign as a beloved monthly tradition.
A part of Foot Locker, Inc. since 1997, the company said in a statement the decision was made as “a result of efforts to optimize distribution processes in order to serve their nationwide customers more efficiently and effectively,” according to Hypebeast.
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