In the glory days of Tampa Bay Buccaneers football there was a waiting list for tickets and merchandise flew off the shelves at Bucs and Bulls Heaven.
"After all these years, we've finally decided to close up our doors and move to another venture, so starting Thursday everything in the store is on sale," said manager Eric Fox.
Pink signs show that everything is half off inside the store. The sale could last anywhere from a week to a month. It will go on until everything is sold. When it is, 16 years of business will come to an end.
It's hard for the "Mom and Pop" to compete with big box stores.
The poor ticket sales that kept Bucs games off TV the last two seasons took its toll on retailers, too.
"Essentially, the reasoning for the black out is what is hurting us: Lack of fans, lack of support, people going and really caring about the team," Fox said.
Fans like T.J. Goodman feel that's too bad.
"I have everything going back to 1980. From jerseys to hats to T-shirts and some really bad bike shorts that I'd rather not talk about," he said.
However, in a bad economy even the diehard fans cut back.
"Nobody wanted to buy as much stuff as they used to because I know I don't anymore," Goodman said.
It doesn't mean all hope is lost for locally owned businesses trying to compete with big box stores.
"They don't have to pack up and move out," explained University of Tampa economics professor Joshua Hall. "You have a whole social media place that you can access your customers on a local basis more so than a Walmart or a Target or a big box store can actually do. You can target your specific people that might buy from your store."
The owners of Bucs and Bulls Heaven say they aren't done yet.
They'll reinvent themselves in the sports community and have other endeavors in the works.
This may feel like a repeat to some people who remember when the stores' original location closed.
The owners hoped this store would have more foot traffic and lower overhead because it's smaller.
It just wasn't enough to stay open.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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