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Gander Mountain sees good turnout at opening

People flocked to Farragut from as far away as Sevierville and Loudon County for the grand-opening of Gander Mountain, a sports and outdoors store that opened in Farragut Friday, Sept. 29.

“We’ve needed something like this around here for some times,” said Tellico Plains resident Tucker Johnson. “It’s a whole lot closer than driving to Sevierville.”

“I think this is really great,” said Farragut resident Mike Turville. “They have a lot of great stuff in here. I can get all my hunting and camping gear here.”

Joe Watson, a Sevierville resident, said he is accustomed to shopping in the Bass Pro Shop in Sevier County.

“I thought I’d come over here and check them out,” he said.

Ray Howell is a Gander Mountain corporate employee and archer who opened the business by cutting the ribbon with an arrow from 20 yards. He said one of the joys of his job is to see all the people who enjoy visiting the new stores.

While residents and employees were excited about the opening, Farragut Land Partners developer Jim Nixon and Oppidan developer Larry Barrett enjoyed seeing their work these past few months come to fruition.

“This is really something we’ve needed in Farragut for a long time,” Nixon said. “We’ve been working on this since early two thousand and six and it’s nice to see it happen.”

“This has been a great process,” Barrett said. “From start to finish, it’s been a pleasure working with the town.”

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.”

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

“We give out hats, T-shirts and water bottles to the first two hundred and-fifty guests each day,” said Phillip Kim, director of marketing for Gander Mountain.

There will also 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.

Children also had the opportunity to slide down an inflatable slide, designed to look like a bass.

Kim said the store would carry the Columbia line of clothing as well as the 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 will offer a selection of Guide Series outdoor lifestyle apparel for men and women, including fishing shirts and convertible pants, beginning in early June. It will also offer a selection of Guide Series camping and fishing equipment, such as tents, cots and ready-to-fish rod and reel combos.


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