Bass Pro Shops is coming to East Ridge in 2016.
A news release went out Monday evening announcing that the well-known outdoor franchise is opening an 85,000-square-foot Outpost store off Interstate 75 at Exit 1.
It will be Bass Pro Shops' sixth Tennessee store. Three are currently in operation, and stores are under construction in Bristol and Memphis.
The announcement release cites Chattanooga's "Scenic City" nickname and its growing reputation "as a mecca for outdoor activities" as reasons for the franchise coming here.
"Having the opportunity to build a super outdoor store directly fronting I-75 will allow us to bring Bass Pro Shops low prices and famous friendly, expert service to serve the many sportsmen, women as well as the visitors to this area each year," said company founder Johnny Morris.
He also said that "this retail attraction will be a tribute to the great sporting tradition and heritage of the region and a celebration of the sporting men and women of Tennessee."
Bass Pro Shops reports that nationally, 116 million customers travel 50-plus miles to visit their stores and stay on average 2.5 hours per visit.
The stores feature a plethora of outdoor gear, including the things necessary for fishing, hunting, hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing and camping.
Bass Pro Shops also feature boat show rooms, with Tracker, Nitro, SunTracker, Tahow, Grizzly and Mako boats built by Tracker Marine Group.
The stores are famous for their outdoorsy look and feel. The East Ridge store will have an indoor aquarium and a collection of fish and wildlife mounts, in addition to photos and exhibits focused on the greater-Chattanooga area's outdoor history.
"We are always pleased to see economic development taking place in our city, but when it's a company with the superior reputation and potential impact of Bass Pro Shops, it is especially significant," said East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert. "This is a home run for East Ridge."
Bass Pro Shops operates 85 stores nationwide.
Monday's announcement marks the third time in six months that a mega outdoor retailer has stepped foot into the greater-Chattanooga market.
Earlier this year, two other outdoor giants -- Gander Mountain and Cabela's -- made similar moves.
In January, Gander Mountain announced that it was opening a 50,000-square-foot store in Hixson's Oak Park Town Center off Highway 153. It is the fourth Gander Mountain store in the state, after Knoxville, Jackson and Nashville. It's set to open this fall.
Following that announcement, in February Cabela's announced that it will be opening a store in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
That store is going to be 70,000-square-feet and be located off Cloud Springs Road, off Interstate 75. The store is set to open in the fall of 2015.
Contact staff writer Alex Green at email@example.com or 423-757-6480.
Alex Green joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 after completing the paper's six-month, general assignment reporter internship. Alex grew up in Dayton, Tenn., which is also where he studied journalism at Bryan College. He graduated from Rhea County High School in 2008. During college, Alex covered the city of Graysville and the town of Spring City for The Herald-News. As editor-in-chief of Bryan College's student news group, Triangle, Alex reported on ...