Bobby Clemons, creator of the St. James Mission 5k, stretches inside Luke’s Locker before joining fellow members of the Team Mac running group Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN
***UPDATES WITH STATEMENT FROM MATT LUCAS***
Another Austin running store has shut its doors – at least temporarily.
Luke’s Locker, which opened in Austin in October 2010 at 115 Sandra Muraida Way, closed after business yesterday, manager Rod Newlin confirmed.
The Austin store was one of eight Luke’s Locker locations in the Texas chain. Six of the stores have closed; the two original stores in Dallas and Fort Worth remain open.
Luke’s Locker chief executive officer Matt Lucas released the following statement:
“Luke’s Locker is temporarily closing its store locations in Houston, Southlake, The Woodlands, Plano and Austin. These locations need to be re-inventoried to better serve our customers. These have all served as excellent locations for Luke’s, and we have enjoyed being in these communities over the years. We expect to reopen these stores, and we apologize that this has happened. During this transition, we will continue to operate our Dallas and Fort Worth stores which are up and running. Luke’s will continue to offer its training programs in these communities despite any of the temporary closings.”
Lucas said in the statement that the store’s business has been impacted by the “over distribution of fitness related products, vendors competing with the retailers who helped build their brands (through retail and direct to consumer marketing), and the online/ digital strength of competitors such Amazon (including Zappos.com) and many others.”
Luke’s has a strong customer base, and store officials say they believe the store’s footwear business is healthy.
“That is our primary focus moving forward. We believe we have a viable business strategy that will take some time to rebuild. Over the last 6 years, we made some poor decisions about a handful of store locations that have negatively impacted the working capital of the business. The stores that we are temporarily closing are not the problem. Having to shut them down is a by product of the poor decisions on other locations.”
Luke’s Locker has closed its Austin location. Photo: Marques G. Harper/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
The first Luke’s Locker store opened more than 40 years ago.
It’s not the first running store to close in Austin, which has a vibrant, active running community.
Rogue Running shuttered its retail location in Cedar Park in August, citing competition from online sales. Texas Running Company also closed its Fifth Street location in recent years. And RunTex famously closed its doors in 2013.
The Austin Luke’s Locker store supported local non-profit The Trail Foundation by selling shirts. It also sponsored numerous local running events.
The Luke’s Locker store served as a meeting location for several running groups, including Gilbert’s Gazelles and Team Mac. It also offered weekly runs and free yoga. Newlin said the groups could continue meeting there as long as they occupied the space.