Iconic San Jose sporting goods store Mel Cotton closing

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Mel Cotton, a landmark sporting goods store in San Jose, is closing.

The aisles are a little more crowded than usual as word has spread that this 70-year-old institution is closing at year's end.

Long-time customers are sad to see it go.

"They always stood by their products very solidly. Definitely going to be missed," said Craig Seastorm, a 40 year customer.

New customers are in search of goods marked down 25 percent or greater as the liquidation process starts.

"I'm buying a pair of skis. I guess it's 25% off. I usually rent my skis, so it'll be a huge savings for me," said Shabnum Husain.

And 35 part and full-time employees will be losing their jobs. Ironically, the reason Mel Cotton's is closing is because the city council turned down a proposal to keep the store as part of a new, mixed-retail and housing complex.

The council argued housing doesn't create jobs like a commercial development.

Of course, times have changed since the late Mel Cotton opened the store in 1946.

It faces competition from big box sporting good stores, some of which are five times bigger than Mel Cotton's.

"The problem is that they don't really have the variety and the people that can answer your questions," explained Bob Arsen, a shopper.

Even with its smaller footprint, Mel cotton's always had over 100,000 items in stock, which would mean any customer who walked in was bound to find something they just had to have or didn't realize was very much in style.

It's the end of an era as soon as $1 million in inventory can be sold off.

Mel Cotton's owner Steve Zehring said, "We always thought this would be something that would go on forever, but it's just a sign of the times."
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