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News & Notes From Our Community

07/03/2014

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TO THE LIMIT
Sport Chalet acquired by Connecticut-based group
Saying there will be no closures and that the popular store’s name will remain unchanged, corporate executives announced Tuesday that La Cañada Flintridge-based Sport Chalet has been acquired by Connecticut-based Vestis Retail Group, owners of two major East Coast sporting goods retailers.  
 
At the end of last year, the three stores — Sport Chalet, Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) — netted $800 million in combined sales at 150 outlets across the country, according to a statement issued about the deal.
Craig L. Levra, chairman of the board, CEO and president of Sport Chalet, will remain in his position as CEO, according to the statement. Vestis does not anticipate any of the 51 Sport Chalet stores Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California to close as a result of the transaction. The stores, with local outlets in La Cañada Flintridge, Arcadia and Burbank, will continue operating under the same brand name. 
 
According to harfordbusiness.com, Vestis acquired Sport Chalet for $14.9 million. Vestis, which is owned with funds advised by Philadelphia-based Versa Capital Management and has $180 million to invest in Sport Chalet, will issue a cash tender offer in the next five days to acquire all outstanding shares of Sport Chalet for $1.20 per share, according to the newswire. 
“For the past year we have methodically explored a wide range of options to position Sport Chalet for growth and to further our strategic initiatives,” Levra said in a report about the transaction appearing on marketwatch.com. Sport Chalet was founded in 1959 by Norbert Olberz. Olberz died in 2011 at the age of 86.
 
“We believe Vestis is the ideal partner given its base of stores in the Eastern US and synergistic vendor relationships, marketing focus and inventory platforms,” Levra said. “We believe we will be very well positioned to compete in today’s retail environment as part of a larger organization with significant scale advantages and broad geographic reach.”   
~ Kevin Uhrich

PLUGGED IN
Musk set to open Tesla showroom in Old Pas  
Tesla Motors, the startup electric car company based in Palo Alto, is planning to open a 3,000-square-foot showroom in Old Pasadena. With stores in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, Tesla is looking to branch out and increase sales in Pasadena. Currently under construction, the site will open Aug. 22 at the earliest.   
 
The showroom, located at 177 W. Colorado Blvd., will be offering test drives but will not have a supercharger station or a service center.
 
Named for the 19th-century inventor and electrical engineer, Nikola Tesla, Tesla Motors began in 2003 offering a high-end electric sports car, but is steadily progressing toward selling affordable family vehicles. Founder Elon Musk, cofounder of PayPal and CEO of the private aeronautics company SpaceX, is known for his unconventional decisions and business strategies. 
Musk’s most recent publicity-garnering move was to open up Tesla Motors patents to anybody who wants to use them “in good faith.”
 
“Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day,” he wrote on his blog. 
 
Tesla’s goal of selling affordably-priced electric cars can only be achieved if it manages to make them a viable alternative to gasoline-powered cars, which means they will have to improve battery technology far beyond today’s capacity.
 
Musk’s master plan is simple: Build a sports car, use that money to build a more affordable car, use that money to build an even more affordable car, and repeat until electric cars are on par with gasoline-powered cars. 
 
Right now, the greatest limiting factors on electric cars are price and range. There are only two Tesla models: the Model S and the Roadster. The “family sedan” Model S starts at about $70,000 and the Roadster at well above $100,000. These prices are due in part to the massive lithium-ion batteries, of which the lowest-range version costs over $15,000
 
Musk is dotting the country with its strategically-placed superchargers, specialized Tesla-only charging stations that provide 120 kilowatt-hours in half an hour: enough to get a car 170 miles.  
~ Adrian Garza 

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