T & M Athletics to Close After 39 Years

Sporting Goods Store Has Been a Staple of the Willow River Community

WILLOW RIVER, Minn. – T & M Athletics is going out of business after thirty-nine years.

The family owned store has been a staple of the Willow River Community since 1979 but on April 21st will close its doors for good.

“Very happy that it’s coming to an end but I guess sad in a way that it is,” said Tom Brabec, owner of T & M. “Going to miss people that I’ve dealt with through all these years.”

Tom Brabec’s high school dream was to open a sporting goods store.

“My dream came true in 1979 when I opened up the doors,” said Brabec.

He and his wife Sissy have been living that dream ever since, but the couple will soon call it quits.

“I averaged about eighty hours a week working and thirty-nine years, all of a sudden it starts to catch up to you,” said Brabec.

Tom says the sporting goods business changed a lot since he started but his loyal customers never stopped supporting T & M.

“I’m not being driven out by anything except I guess tiredness a little bit,” said Brabec.

For the next several weeks, the store is selling off their inventory and the Brabecs are taking the chance to say goodbye.

“So many different friends have come by and if they didn’t even buy anything it didn’t matter because there was always congratulations there,” said Brabec.

Tom has a new job as a grocery store manager in Sandstone.

“That’ll be forty hours a week so I guess that’ll be a little refreshing just working forty hours,” said Brabec.

He’s excited to start his new chapter but says there’s one thing about owning his own business he’ll miss the most.

“My wife who has brought me lunch every day. Now my new job will be fifteen miles away and she won’t be bringing me lunch every day,” Brabec laughed.

Everything at T & M is now on clearance.

All items will be sold by April 21st when the Brabecs lock the store’s doors for the last time.

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