MC Sports founder talks about bankruptcy and store’s history

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – It’s a sporting goods franchise that got its start in Grand Rapids. This week MC Sports announced it’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The family that built the company into a major success says they’re sad to see what’s happened to the business.

One of the original founders says online shopping helped contribute to the bankruptcy.

“It’s very unfortunate,” says Morton Finkelstein, former CEO of MC Sports. “We’re very sad about the fact that they had to force into bankruptcy, but that’s the sign of the times. The Internet is taking over heavily. People don’t shop stores anymore.”

Originally called “Michigan Clothers,” MC Sports began as a family-owned company with roots going back to the original Grand Rapids store in 1946.

“We’re proud of the fact that we started out with the family store, one store and that it graduated into many stores,” says Finkelstein.

For decades, Mort and his brothers ran the company, which grew to include nearly 70 stores in 7 different states. The family sold the company in the year 2000.

“When we were acquired by 'Pacific Industries' we were the largest sporting goods chain in the world,” said Finkelstein. “We were a force in the sporting goods business. Everybody knew MC Sporting goods in the state of Michigan."

Finkelstein says MC Sports was like family and that he looked at the company like it was a child he raised.

It’s unclear what stores may be closing for good or how many jobs may be cut. However, Finkelstein says there are about 40 locations that are still profitable, adding that it's possible another company may acquire those stores.

At this point, gift cards for MC Sports will still be honored at all stores and merchandise can still be exchanged.

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