COMPANY AT A GLANCE
• Name: Gander Mountain
• Slogan: "We live outdoors"
• Products: Apparel and equipment for hunting, fishing, camping and outdoor recreation
• Headquarters: St. Paul, Minn.
• History: Founded in Wilmont, Wisc., in 1960
• Stores: 127 locations in 24 states. 10 new stores have been announced for 2014 already
• Local outlet: 50,000 square-foot store in the Oak Park Town Center on Highway 153 to open this fall
One of the nation's largest retailers of hunting, fishing, camping, and marine supplies will enter the Chattanooga market this fall in Hixson.
Gander Mountain, which operates 127 stores in 24 states, plans to open a 50,000-square-foot store in the Oak Park Town Center on Highway 153. The store will be the fourth Gander Mountain in Tennessee and will fill space once occupied by Goody's, plus another 20,000 square feet of new and remodeled retail space at the center.
"This is a tremendous addition for the Hixson area and we're very excited about bringing Gander Mountain to Chattanooga," said Clint Wolford, vice president for Wolford Management Co., which operates the Oak Park Town Center. "We're seeing a lot of interest among retailers in the Highway 153 area and this speaks well about the rebound in retailing from the devastating period in the recession."
David Pratt, chairman and CEO of Gander Mountain, said the retailer operates other stores in Knoxville, Jackson and Nashville. Chattanooga is one of 10 new markets where the retailer has announced plans for new stores so far in 2014.
"For many years, Gander Mountain has been a well-known and trusted name in Tennessee among those who love the outdoors, and who enjoy great traditions like hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and camping," Pratt said in an announcement of the new store Monday. "We are thrilled to bring another new Gander Mountain store to the state, and give our friends in Chattanooga and the surrounding region more opportunities to experience our top-quality gear and knowledgeable service at great prices."
Gander Mountain's newest store will feature one of the largest selections of new and used firearms in Tennessee, together with the wide selection of gear and accessories for hunting, fishing, camping, boating and archery.
"Chattanooga is known for our love of the great outdoors - from our mountains and river to downtown walking bridges and miles of bike trails," Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said. "As our city continues to grow as a world-class outdoor destination, we are excited to welcome retailers like Gander Mountain to our community."
Wolford said a nearby Shoe Carnival in the Oak Park Town Center will be relocated and additional space built to accommodate Gander Mountain.
But while the center will pick up a major outdoor retailer, Oak Park will soon lose Old Navy, which is relocating at the end of the month to Northgate Mall.
The changes will expand the retail space at Oak Park from 168,000 square feet to 178,000 square feet "and should help us generate more traffic and retail interest" in the center, which also includes a 220,000 square-foot Walmart superstore, Wolford said.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 757-6340.