by Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A story uncovered by Eyewitness News catches the eye of a member of Philadelphia city council.

Blondell Reynolds Brown says something must be done – after Nike tells certain Philadelphia business owners they can no longer sell the company’s gear (see related story).

The story Eyewitness News first brought you exclusively is getting a lot of reaction.

Nike says it’s making a move to re-evaluate its brand. Business owners don’t quite see it that way – they are now turning to 3 On Your Side and now a local politician is getting involved.

On Friday, our Elizabeth Hur had the exclusive new development to the story you saw first on Eyewitness News.

In the Philadelphia region, 95% of the businesses have 50 employees or less. Turns out, more than half of those businesses have fewer than 5 employees — that’s according to Philadelphia’s City Councilwoman At-large Blondell Reynolds Brown who watched with concern our eyewitness news exclusive on Nike and small businesses.

Reynolds Brown said, “They’re in the neighborhoods, on business corridors where families walk and employees work.”

They are family owned and operated sporting goods stores that for years, even decades, have relied on Nike to stay in business.

Keith Sherman, manager of Real McCoy Sports in Olney said, “You’re talking about 75-80% Nike. So you cut out the Nike, that pretty much cuts me out too.”

But the sporting goods giant has informed some small business owners: As of June 30th, Nike is exercising its right to terminate their accounts.

We first told you about 6 retailers in Philadelphia and Camden. Since our story aired – 3 more reached out to 3 On Your Side, including businesses in Chester city and Harleysville, Montgomery county – each has gotten letters and emails from Nike, emails explaining they are choosing to move on because quote “we are a premium brand and our brand deserves the best platform”.

Regetta Simmons of North Philadelphia said, “They can’t be serving us better, they’re taking something away from us.”

Blair Simmons also of North Philadelphia added, “Then we have to go farther, spend more money.”

Shoppers, Blair and Regetta Simmons from north Philadelphia said don’t understand Nike’s move.

Reynolds Brown said, “75% of their inventory is anchored in the Nike product, I would think that deserves not an email but a conversation.”

And Reynolds Brown vows, she will start a conversation with her colleagues to get answers from Nike.

“This might be an opportunity to explore more deeply from where we sit in council why Nike is conducting its business in this way,” Reynolds Brown said.

Also new Friday, Nike sent us a statement in response to our initial story:

“Nike is constantly evaluating its distribution needs with a view to enhancing its brand. This includes adapting our distribution strategy to the changes in our consumers’ purchasing behavior, the retail landscape, and our brand strategy. It is an approach that affects accounts of varying sizes. Nike has a diverse base of retailers throughout cities and communities across the US.”

Still no answer to how many accounts in all are affected.

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