April 30 2010, 10:40 AM
In 1928, Nathan Gart launched Gart Bros. Sporting Goods, which became a Denver mainstay with a "Sportscastle" on Broadway Street and popular "Sniagrab" ski-gear sales. But in recent decades, the family's stake in the company changed.
In 1986, retail operations were sold to Thrifty Corporation, according to The Denver Post. The family then built a chain of sporting-goods stores in the early 1990s, which merged with Vail Resorts Incorporated in 1998. The Gart family stayed in the biz, though, running Specialty Sports Venture---which includes Colorado Ski & Golf and Bicycle Village---with Vail.
Now, Vail has stepped in to pay $31 million for the remaining 30 percent share of Specialty Sports, bringing the Gart family's run in the sports-retail business to an end after 82 years.
In a statement, Ken Gart said he and his brother "could not be more proud of the accomplishments of everyone at Specialty Sports Venture over the past 16 years, both before and after our partnership with Vail Resorts. While our partnership with Vail Resorts always called for an ending, it is certainly a bittersweet moment for both of us and our family" (via the Denver Business Journal).
Gart added that he and his brother are confident Vail Resorts will continue to be successful in the sporting goods biz.