Go Tri Sports, a multi-sport store which has conducted races on and around Hilton Head Island for more than a decade, closed its doors last week.
"They were central to the community's racing series," said Bill Wrightson, who is in his seventh year as Hilton Head High's cross country coach. "A lot of my kids did the triathalons with them.
"Obviously, they'll be missed."
The store came under new ownership a little more than a year ago, as local residents John and Dagny Dogger purchased the business from Alfred and Keri Olivetti, who had owned the shop for 11 years.
Attempts Monday to contact both the Doggers and Olivettis were unsuccessful, but a March 21 posting on the store's Facebook page said, "Please note -- our physical retail location and online presence are temporarily closed as we evaluate our inventory position and overall structure."
Palmetto Bay Holdings owner Bob Agans -- who owns the space Go Tri Sports rented at 24 Palmetto Bay Road -- said Monday that he met with Dogger about a week ago after he failed to make rent for several months.
"He said he was having financial problems," Agans said. "Sales were not what they expected to be, etc. He wasn't sure he'd be able to make it."
Agans returned to the property Monday morning and found the location deserted.
"I was shocked to find out that he had vacated the place over the weekend," he said.
The store's closing has already affected one of its races, as the Run for the Heritage 5K will come to an end after only one year, said Ryan Stefonick, who worked for Go Tri Sports until the beginning of February. The charity event developedan unofficial partnership with the RBC Heritage golf tournament in 2011.
"As much as we wanted to continue Run for the Heritage, it came at a really bad time," he said. "You have to plan the race and promote it. It just came at the worst time for the business, so it's unfortunately being overlooked."
It is unclear whether other events affiliated with Go Tri Sports will continue, such as the South Carolina Triathalon Series and the Beach Bum Triathalon. It also remains unclear whether those registered for the Run for the Heritage will get their money back. The online registration for the event -- which was to be held Saturday at Coligny Beach -- listed a $15 charge for students and a $30 charge for adults.
Local resident Karen Burrows said her husband, 52-year-old Stephen Burrows, tried to register for the Run for the Heritage on Sunday evening with no luck. The Bluffton native, who had open heart surgery three years ago and has since lost more than 110 pounds, ran in the Run for the Heritage event last year and was ready to participate again.
"It was very strange," Karen Burrows said. " ... (The site) said registration until Thursday but the registration was closed."
Stefonick, who worked under the Doggers during his time with Go Tri Sports, originally reached out to the Heritage last year in the hopes of establishing a partnership. Heritage marketing director Angela McSwain said the golf tournament agreed to give out free passes to the race winners and looked forward to working together again in 2012.
But after Stefonick left, McSwain's attempts to get in contact with Dogger proved unsuccessful.
"I assume it was canceled when Ryan left," she said.