Mike Massey, owner of Massey's Professional Outfitters with three Louisiana-based stores (Baton Rouge, Covington and Metairie), told SNEWS® that he is opening up a new location and moving the company headquarters to New Orleans.
"Anyone who is familiar with Massey's history knows that my grandfather got his start in the sporting goods business by working part time (he was also a firefighter) in a small local sporting goods store in the recently made infamous part of New Orleans, Lakeview," Massey told us by email. "I used to visit him at work when I was my son's age and he was slightly older than me. It's my oldest memory of a sporting goods store."
Now, almost 35 years later, Massey tells us he's bursting with pride at being able to announce that Massey's is moving back into downtown New Orleans.
"We have just finished negotiating to take over and restore a historical building in mid-city," said Massey. "The building originally served as a school supply outlet in the '50s and has been left deserted since the neighborhood flooded during Katrina."
Massey told us he settled on the location for its neighborhood feel.
"It's not a high traffic, retail hub… and it has been desperately in need of local businesses after Katrina. The other primary reasons we chose this location are the proximity to public transportation (streetcar line), Bayou St. John (a great place to paddle) and City Park," Massey told SNEWS®. "The neighborhood is great. It was Whole Foods' only location other than Austin for many years. It's a special, local place… very bohemian."
Massey will be keeping the Metairie store open which has served as the company headquarters until this move. The retailer also does not have a warehouse, and this location is large enough to serve that function as well. All told, Massey's office staff will be moving from a current 400-square-foot office space to a 5,000-square-foot one.
The building itself is approximately 28,000 square feet, and Massey tells us he has plans to share some of the space with local artists.
Since signing the lease, Massey has also learned that a Rail To Trails project is in the works for the side street (St. Louis) and will extend from his new store location to the French Quarter.
Despite all the business logic, larger space, warehousing capability and more, Massey added that the primary reason for moving the company headquarters was the fact that Metairie is almost New Orleans, but not quite.
"We tell people that we're from New Orleans, but our address says Metairie. We felt something was lost in translation. We all feel really anchored to the city and wanted to be 'really' part of it. The time was right, the spot was perfect, and we pulled the trigger," said Massey.
"We really want to be part of the solution. Donating time or money is great. But New Orleans really needs businesses," added Massey. "Hopefully, by January 2008 we will begin the official 'post-Katrina, New-Orleans-centric' chapter in Massey's history."