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Gander Mountain opening date set

A lease has been signed, a date set and construction underway on Gander Mountain, a sports and outdoors store to open on Parkside Drive in Farragut.

Shannon Burns, director of investor relations and corporate communications for Gander Mountain, said the company recently signed its lease for the new store.

“I can’t really comment on the specifics of the lease,” Burns said. “We normally don’t mention the length of our average leases.”

While Burns wouldn’t state who the property owners are, Knox County Records show that Farragut Land Partners retain ownership of the land itself.

Burns declined to comment on the average yearly sales per store. She said she generally tells investors the stores average $180 in sales per square foot. With a building size of 65,000 square feet, that averages about $12 million per year.

Bass Pro Shops, a privately-owned company and top competitor with Gander Mountain, posts an estimated $2 billion in annual sales from 44 locations in the United states and Canada.

Stock analysts list Gander Mountain, which is publicly traded, as having $825 million in sales in the past year generated by 98 locations.

Farragut Town Administrator Dan Olson said at an annual sales rate of $12 million, Gander Mountain would produce about $150,000 in sales tax revenue for the town. That amount, he said, would resurface about a half- mile of street.

The store is currently under construction and Phillip Kim, Gander Mountain director of marketing, said a tentative opening date has been set for Tuesday, Sept. 19.

“We’re planning on having a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Sept. twenty-ninth,” he said. “We’ll have our C-E-O, Mark Boher, there. These are generally three-day events over a weekend. We give out hats, T-shirts and water bottles to the first two hundred and fifty guests each day.”

Kim said the store would carry the Columbia line of clothing as well as Three Forks Ranch Edition merchandise for fishing, hunting and camping. Three Forks recently named Gander Mountain as the sole distributor for its merchandise.

This new line of top-quality merchandise includes fly rods and reels; a complete line of fly fishing clothing and waders; limited edition custom rifles; big game and upland hunting apparel; leather and canvas luggage; and wall tents and camping equipment.

The company, Burns said, at the end of May announced a partnership with Camping World to offer a selection of Gander Mountain’s Guide Series-owned brand products through Camping World’s Web site and catalog.

Camping World’s Web site would offer a selection of Guide Series outdoor lifestyle apparel for men and women, including fishing shirts and convertible pants, beginning in early June. It also will offer a selection of Guide Series camping and fishing equipment, such as tents, cots and ready-to-fish rod and reel combos. Camping World’s fall catalog is expected to offer a similar section of merchandise for the fall season.

There also will be opportunities to earn extra bargains back in the archery department. Kim said customers would have the opportunity to shoot arrows at balloons of different colors. Each color balloon represents a different percentage discount. A red balloon, for example, might represent 20 percent off a purchase.

“Customers generally have a lot of fun,” Kim said.

Burns said the company is expecting good things from its Knoxville location, one of five new stores expected open by October.

The other locations include Lake Mary, Fla., Charleston, W.Va., Huntsville, Ala. and Winchester, Va.

“We don’t see ourselves as a destination store,” Burns said. “We see ourselves more as a convenience store because we will have a gunsmith available for gun repair as well as offering A-T-V repair.”

She said Gander Mountain also would have a community room known as Gander Lodge available for public use. The room is free of charge, but reservations would be required. The company would also use this room for classes, such as lure tying or game cleaning.


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