What's in store

Cathy Jett is the business editor at The Free Lance-Star, and specializes in covering the area's retail scene. You can email her at

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Sports Zone to reopen with new name, location in Central Park

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The Sports Zone in Central Park is moving to a smaller space in the big-box center, and will reopen Sunday as Sports Zone Elite.

The store is currently located between Old Navy and Party City. The smaller, boutique version will be in the former Petite Sophisticates spot, which is between Famous Footwear and Ulta.

“This footprint obviously works in any location: town center, strip center or mall,” said John Mastrianni, vice president of marketing. “It allows us to use smaller square footage location and make the same amount of sales.”

The chain is evaluating its stores as their leases expire to determine if they’ll be switched to the new format, he said. Currently, it has about 16 Sport Zone Elites.

Sports Zone started with one store in Northern Virginia in 1985. It now has 28 locations in Virginia, Maryland and Washington.

Southern California-based Tilly’s will open soon in the space that Sports Zone will vacate, said Rappaport leasing and brokerage representative Shawn M Carrington. She handled the leases for both retailers.

Tilly’s specializes in merchandise from the top players in the surf, skate, motocross and lifestyle apparel industries. It opened its first store in 1982, and now has 175 stores in 30 states.

—Cathy Jett