Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters will close its doors in Brattleboro

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 4:55 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2023 at 5:02 PM EDT
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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (WCAX) - A store that has been a fixture in downtown Brattleboro for nearly a century is closing its doors.

“It’s a difficult time but it is something that has to be done,” said Brad Borofsky, the grandson of the man who brought outdoor gear to Brattleboro.

Due to a variety of factors, including decreasing volume at the Main Street location, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters is for sale. The business has two other stores, one in Swanzey, New Hampshire, and the other in Hadley, Massachusetts.

“There is quite a bit of interest in the other two, so I have no choice to close this one at some particular point and it just makes sense to start it now,” Borofsky said.

Sam’s has been in Brattleboro since the 1930s. It has a huge retail presence, occupying almost half a block.

“It’s a blow to the town to be perfectly honest,” said Greg Lesch of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I think everybody will be super sad,” said Marie Formichelli, a glass blower with Fire Arts Vermont.

“It’s going to be a hole. It is going to be a huge hole,” said Elizabeth Clauson, who co-owns Trillium Home and Garden, a boutique gift store right across the street. “We have to go across state lines to get certain items. Clothing is one of them.”

For many who grew up in the community, Sam’s is the place to go for all things outdoors.

“I got my skates sharpened there every year. I would be down there for boots or just various outdoor items,” Formichelli said.

Business leaders say storefront occupancy rates on Main Street are actually increasing of late. That’s despite another large vacancy a block away from Sam’s.

“Retail is not an easy game to be in,” Lesch said. “There are so many online shopping options and you know, it’s feast or famine for a lot of retailers.”

Forty-eight employees work at Sam’s in Brattleboro between the offices, warehouse and retail.

Borofsky was noticeably emotional when talking about the future of the business.

“You know, I’ve been trying to hold myself together but it is certainly tough,” he said.

The owner says that he hopes he can relocate current employees in Brattleboro to Sam’s other two stores.

Sam’s lease is up at that Brattleboro location at the end of next April, but an official closing date has not yet been announced.