COLORADO SPRINGS – After more than 20 years in business, Prime Time Sports Owner Stephen Martin says he can’t afford his monthly lease anymore at Chapel Hills Mall.
On Monday, staff hung 40% off signs all over the store.
“That’s definitely what brought us in for sure,” said Melissa Hansen, who came in to buy a Broncos hat.
But customers soon learned the discount came at a price, learning Prime Time would be going out of business.
“I just can’t keep the doors open anymore,” said Martin, telling News5 he made the decision to close for good on Sunday night.
It’s not the first time Martin has slashed prices like this–choosing to get rid of all Nike apparel last fall, following the company’s ad campaign with Colin Kapernick.
“Being a sports store without Nike is kind of like being a milk store without milk or a gas station without gas. How do you do it? They have a monopoly on jerseys,” said Martin.
Martin says he’s the only full service, licensed fan shop between Castle Rock and the New Mexico border. Despite having all 32 NFL team’s apparel in his store, he doesn’t have any current players’ jerseys–because of his decision to drop all Nike apparel.
He also cancelled an autograph session with Brandon Marshall at his store back in 2016, to protest Marshall’s decision to kneel during the anthem.
“As much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realized,” said Martin.
He says online sales have also been a big factor in the 15% decline in sales he’s seen in the last three years.
But loyal customers like Dave Huddie still prefer to shop local–and in person.
“I spent probably $1,000 in this place over the years,” Huddie told staff on Monday, shortly after learning the store was going out of business.
Huddie has bought a little bit of everything over the years.
“A wallet, a hat, a blanket,” he said laughing. I did it. I bought it.”
Huddie promised to return to Prime Time, with friends, to snatch up more apparel before it closes.
The store will stay open until there’s nothing left, but Martin says he’ll be leaving with his dignity.
“I didn’t give in to big Nike and big dollars. I didn’t give in. I did it my way,” he told News5.
“That part of the military respect that’s in me just cannot be sacrificed or compromised, as I believe Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick both did. I don’t like losing a business over it, but I rather be able to live with myself,” he added.
Martin estimates the store will close in about a month, and is currently working with his staff to help them find other jobs.