Lax World Stores Closed; What Happened to the Lacrosse Retailer?

Lax World closed 16 stores
iStock/NYstudio

Lacrosse equipment company Lax World unexpectedly closed all of its stores across the U.S. and shut down its corporate headquarters in Cockeysville. The Maryland-based company had stores in Maryland, Virginia, New York, Georgia, Colorado, and Washington state. Despite closing all of its stores, Lax World is still taking orders online, and the company’s Facebook page makes no mention of the store closings either.

The company has been facing numerous lawsuits from vendors and landlords. There is currently an eviction notice on the door of the company’s Cockeysville headquarters from the Baltimore County District Court saying that Lax World owes more than $11,200.

Lax World first opened its doors in 1988, and was the country’s first sports store dedicated to lacrosse. Founder Jim Darcangelo sold Lax World in 2013 to a company executive and two former executives at Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. After the acquisition, the lacrosse equipment company steadily expanded its presence across the U.S.

At the time of the purchase, Lax World had 11 locations. The new owners said they hoped to capitalize on lacrosse’s growing popularity and open dozens of stores over the next six years. In keeping with the times, the owners said they were also going to expand online.

In January 2016, Lax World acquired Denver-based Breakaway Sports. Breakaway had five locations in Colorado, New York, Georgia, and Washington state.

At the time, company CEO Frank Barbarino said there were plans to expand into several other markets. There were 50 or 60 markers the newly helmed company was eyeing for expansion.

Specialty sporting goods retailers have been facing stiff competition from online sellers and major sports apparel brands, including Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), adidas AG (OTC:ADDYY), and Reebok International.

“The lacrosse market has been a tough market the last couple of years, with a lot of retailers and vendors getting into it. Our business is not the same as it was. You have to evolve,” said Joe Desimone, founder and president of rival lacrosse retailer Lacrosse Unlimited Inc.

The writing has been on the vacant walls of Lax World’s retail outlets for a while now. In September, it closed its flagship store in Townson, Maryland. The company’s Bel Air store in Hartford shuttered its doors in May, with the landlord being awarded a judgment for $27,880 in unpaid rent.

In July, Lax World in Ellicott City, Maryland closed. According to a lawsuit, the company allegedly owes more than $60,000 in unpaid rent, penalties, and interest. According to a lawsuit filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court last month, it allegedly owes Champion Sports Products, Inc. $31,489 for unpaid merchandise.

Most recently, in October, Cascade Maverik Lacrosse, LLC filed suit against Lax World in the District of Maryland for $500,000 for alleged breach of contract.

 

Sources

Lacrosse retailer LAX World shutters stores and leaves Cockeysville headquarters,” Baltimore Sun, November 9, 2017.

Lax World,” Lax World, last accessed November 13, 2017.

Lax World,” Facebook, last accessed November 13, 2017.

Lax World expands with acquisition of Denver lacrosse store chain,” Baltimore Business Journal, January 26, 2017.

1:17-cv-03017-RDB,” Baltimore County Circuit Court, last accessed November 13, 2017.

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