A St. John's institution for athletes and sports lovers is moving out of the Water Street home that it`s operated from for nearly half a century.
"We've outgrown the space that we currently operate out of downtown," said Sportscraft owner Mark Crocker."
We've seen a lot of changes over the years and it's time for us to move and expand our horizons."
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The news comes at a time when two other downtown tenants, the English School District and Suncor have also decided to move out of the area.
"We've seen big increases in occupancy downtown over the last 20-25 years and perhaps it has reached a peak and now it is going to cycle down," said Crocker.
Crocker said many factors played into Sportscraft's decision to move, something he says the store began thinking about three years ago.
"We want to insulate ourselves against any more big box stores coming in. So we felt the downtown is probably not the place for us to be to expand our business," he said.
It won't be the easiest place to do business for the next five to seven years.- Mark Crocker
Crocker said that with the city planning to dig up Water Street to replace aging infrastructure over the next few years, downtown businesses are bracing for some challenging times.
"I think that with the 'big dig' starting up we are finding that for a lot of businesses it won't be the easiest place to do business for the next five-to-seven years," he said.
Despite that Crocker said closing the Sportscraft downtown store will trigger mixed emotions.
"I've grown up in and around the business so downtown has been a big part of my life," he said.
"Dad is 51 years working on Water street. So, really it's the only place he has ever worked. We'll be sad to leave the downtown but super excited about the next stage of our business."