Minneapolis is losing another dome — the venerable sporting goods store Dome Souvenirs Plus.
Next to what was the Metrodome since 1993, the store is closing this weekend and will reopen in St. Louis Park in mid-September.
“The building is falling apart, it’s impossible to find a parking place during stadium construction, and 90 percent of our business is online,” said Ray Crump Jr., president of the business and son of its owner.
With those obstacles, moving became a necessity. The family didn’t seriously consider becoming an online-only business.
“It’s important to have a storefront, and some vendors such as Majestic and Nike have required it,” Crump said. “And it can add another 10 to 20 percent to our business.”
Business at the current store, at 910 S. 3rd St., was hurt less by the departure of the Twins from the Dome to Target Field in 2010 than Crump expected.
The store’s revenue, which varies depending on the success of the Vikings and Twins, peaked that year, which was when the Twins won the American League Central Division title. Typical annual sales run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Crump said.
Tom Westcott of Minneapolis has been shopping at Dome Souvenirs since it opened. He’s sorry to hear about the closing but will follow the business to St. Louis Park.
“There aren’t too many places to shop where the owner greets you by name, waits on you and brings anything you need out to the car,” he said. “The only other local store like it that’s left is St. Mane Sporting Goods in Minneapolis.”
Competition from the Internet is most cited as the reason for the decline of independent sporting goods stores, but owners dispute the assumption that their prices are higher than at big box sports specialty retailers. Even with a higher level of customer service, prices at Dome Souvenirs are about 20 percent less than at the stadiums.
“We’re still in business because businesses like ours and Dome Souvenirs can quickly respond to customers’ needs,” said Justin Glomski, store manager at St. Mane Sporting Goods. “We don’t need to go through 47 chains of command to bring in items customers are asking for.”
Crump’s father, Ray, who remains the owner, started the store in 1986 at a different downtown location. A former bat boy with the Washington Senators and equipment manager for the Twins, Crump Sr. took note of the sporting goods stores near Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium and decided to start his own.
Family members will still operate the new location, which is across from St. Louis Park High School at 3345 Dakota Av. S.
“It’s slightly bittersweet,” Ray Crump Jr. said. “We’ll miss the rush we got from the crazy busy days after a Vikings win, but the free, ample parking will be sweet.”