LIVERMORE (KPIX 5) — A beloved, family-owned sporting goods shop in Livermore has announced it will soon close its doors permanently, done in by financial struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A line full of people wrapped around a building during the pandemic is not that unusual, but this line was for a different reason. Dom’s Outdoor Outfitters announced on Facebook Wednesday they were calling it quits after 51 years of selling sporting goods in Livermore.
By sunrise Thursday, people were already in line for the first day of the shop’s liquidation sale. The initial discounts were modest for now, but will get bigger as the store’s final closure nears.
Dom’s was offering 20% off rain gear and 50% off Boy Scout uniforms. Levi’s jeans and Yeti coolers were selling at 10% off. Kim Burnett, who grew up in Livermore, was here to buy some ammunition that was marked down 10%.
“It’s a big loss, you know? Now people aren’t going to have a local place to go for their outdoor needs,” Burnett said.
Matthew larson saved $100 on a new crossbow. He said he used to ride his bike to the store as a kid.
“Hopefully it gets better, but this…this one stung a bit,” said Larson.
Dom’s Outdoor Outfitters proprietor and namesake Dominick Saccullo was sad to be closing up shop, and a little angry.
“Well, I am very dissatisfied, you know? We’ve had over 51 years in this business,” said Saccullo. “And we’ve had a great career. Livermore is a great community. It’s a phenomenal community.”
Saccullo opened the store in 1970 when a pair of nice rain boots sold for three dollars. He calls the store his other wife.
Dom’s was able to compete with Amazon and eBay for years, but eight months ago after the start of the pandemic, he noticed manufacturers stopped fulfilling purchase orders and would not send him some product, like shoes.
“They might send you to some [size] 7, 8 and maybe 13; but the good sizes, which are 9,10 ,11?.[They keep it] for themselves. Exactly right,” said Saccullo.
He says many manufacturers are now selling directly to customers through their own websites and brick and mortar stores. That cuts out mom-and-pop businesses like his.
When asked if he had any kind of parting message for those manufacturers about they way they treated him, Saccullo replied, “I better not say what I have on my mind. I feel that they’re hurting the American public, period.”
While many smaller independent businesses have struggled during the pandemic, even department stores like Neiman Marcus at Walnut Creek’s Broadway Plaza are walking into dark times. They too are having to shut their doors for good.
The high-end chain is set to close a number of its stores including the Walnut Creek location at end of the month on the heels of a bankruptcy filing last year. Like Dom’s, that store was having a close-out sale Thursday.
“That’s really sad to see such an iconic place closing down,” said Milana Buzzoni who was shopping at Broadway Plaza.
“It’s sad to see stores close. But you know, when it’s a big company like this, they have a bunch of more places in other areas, so I don’t feel as bad,” said another shopper.
In the Facebook post about the shop going out of business, the Saccullo family said a number of people had offered to set up GoFundMe pages to help save the store.
“We appreciate the generosity of wanting to do this, however, we are now committed to closing our store,” the post read. “We ask that any money you would consider helping us with – to please support another small business struggling during these unprecedented times.”
Still, Saccullo remained philosophical about the end of his business that was in operation for over a half a century.
“We’re gonna go on. Life will go on,” he said. “We’re all gonna go on, live better. Live anyway.”
Juliette Goodrich contributed to this story.