News Editor

   April 2, 2003 — Madras is losing another retail opportunity.
   Cascade Sports Authority owner Greg Kemper is closing his doors at the end of this month.
   The sporting goods store, which opened in May 2000, has seen a steady decline in business since 9/11, Kemper said.
   But Kemper is not totally going out of business.
   The Madras native opened another store this past July in Prineville that he said is doing far better than his location here, situated next to Bi-Mart and Radio Shack of Highway 97.
   He had considered moving his store to a location closer to downtown, but the indefinite delay of a state project expected to inject jobs and growth into the community changed his mind.
   "Once the prison got mothballed -- that was one of the last straws," Kemper said.
   Kemper said his location worked against his business because it was hard for kids to get to his store. But he said the biggest factor holding him back is that too many people are choosing to buy their sporting goods in Deschutes County.
   His comments reflect his disappointment.
   "People have a penchant for running to Bend for everything," Kemper said. "Now they can do it."
   Despite this, Kemper said his Cascade Sports Authority store in Prineville is doing very well, and residents there are committed to shopping locally. His lease there is much cheaper, too, he said.
   "Their town is just far, far better at supporting their local businesses," Kemper said.
   Kemper said he's not sure Madras currently has the economic stimulus to support his store or others like it.
   "People running to Target and Wal-mart for their baseball bats and soccer gear are leaving me behind," he said. "It would be interesting to see if they can get them to sponsor their T-ball teams."
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