‘This is a strange time in my life.’
Before opening for the day, Randy Buttleman stands amid the racks of sports clothing and the displays of bats, balls, gloves and every accessory you can think of.
Buttleman Sporting Goods Inc. is closing after 44 years and the memories are all around.
“I remember when we first painted this place,” he said.
The store has been at its current location, 175 N. Yonge St., since 1977. Before that, it was at Bellair Plaza in Daytona Beach after being started by his dad, Dale, in 1971.
Buttleman started working for his dad when he was 15, so closing the store marks a big change.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said. “Maybe when I turn the key for the last time. This is a strange time in my life. Forty-four years is a long time,” he said.
He and his sister, Tracy Gino, hope to sell everything in the next several weeks. The 6,000-square-foot showroom is full of merchandise and there’s a storage area upstairs of stuff that must be sold.
“I’m a little nervous,” he said.
They are currently selling everything at 50% off and by mid-July, it will be 75% off.
Buttleman said he appreciates the community support he received through the years, but now looks forward to “something different,” though he doesn’t yet know what that will be. He’s sure he’ll be busy with something.
“I’m not a couch potato,” he said.
His dad died in 1996, leaving the business to the brother and sister.
Buttleman sold a lot of merchandise to area schools and local sports leagues. He said the recession had a big impact in 2008. There were budgets cutbacks at many schools.
Also, he lost business to the Internet, starting about 10 years ago. He said people will come into his store and look at the sporting equipment and then order online.
And it’s hard to compete with the national big box stores. He said he is not the only small business owner to suffer.
“Price is the bottom line for a lot of people,” he said. “A lot of businesses are closing.”
Getting rid of his merchandise is not his only worry. Six weeks ago, when a survey was taken of his property, it was discovered that the Department of Transportation has a right of way 15 feet into his business, a problem that could prevent him from selling the building.
Throughout all the years he has been there, there have been various surveys of the property and they never showed the right of way, he said He’s hoping the state will “help him out” and abandon the right of way.
Call Buttleman at 677-0183.