UPDATE: Bass Pro Shops coming to Columbia Co.

A rendering of the store coming to Columbia County. (WRDW-TV)

A rendering of the store coming to Columbia County. (WRDW-TV)

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, July 24, 2013

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars are coming to our area thanks to a huge new retailer. Bass Pro Shops is headed to Columbia County.

County Commissioner Ron Cross says it's a plan that's been in the works for quite some time.

"It means a lot to Columbia County. We've been chasing this dream for the better part of eight years," he said.

The dream will soon be a reality, a 50,000-square-foot reality. The store will be across from CarMax near the intersection of I-20 and Flowing Wells Road.

"We're excited. There's no way to hide it. This is something that's big for the citizens, a great shopping opportunity, great sales tax base, for years to come this will be a major event," Cross said.

"The economic impact from this project is going to be quite substantial," said Executive Director of the Development Authority of Columbia County Robert Bennett.

The store will bring between 250 to 300 jobs along with it, and similar stores bring in $30 to $50 million a year, which means big revenues for the county.

"There's sales tax revenues that are going to come in, the tourism factor for having a Bass Pro Shops and bringing in a more regional reach, too, in economic development," Bennett said.

The area is already seeing a lot of development. New luxury apartments are going up right now, and there are talks of more retail stores once Bass Pro Shops is up and running.

The store hopes to open the doors by fall 2014 or spring 2015. If you're wondering about hiring, the company tells us they plan to fill many of the positions at a job fair once the store is closer to opening.

Initial report:

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Bass Pro Shops will be opening up a store in Columbia County.

The Bass Pro Shops Outpost will be opening up at the intersection of I-20 and Flowing Wells Road near the CarMax.

The 50,0000-square-foot store is scheduled to open in fall 2014 or spring 2015. It is expected to bring 250 to 300 jobs to the area.

The county administrator says that Bass Pro Shops could generate up to $30 to $50 million a year. The county's commitment will be creating, furnishing and maintaining the parking lot, according to the county administrator.

This will be the fourth store the retailer has in Georgia, with locations in Lawrenceville, Savannah and Macon.

“We are very excited to bring Bass Pro Shops to this premier site in Augusta and to be a part of this great community,” said Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, in a news release. “This highly visible location is easily accessible and will allow us to bring Bass Pro Shops’ low prices and friendly, expert service to better serve the many sportsmen and women as well as the many visitors to the Augusta area each year.”

This isn't the first time the company has talked about coming to the area. The store announced plans in 2008 to open up in the Village at Riverwatch shopping center in Richmond County. However, the company put that plan on hold when the economy tanked.

Hiring process:

Bass Pro Shop will begin the hiring process three months before the store opens in fall 2014, said Communications Manager Katie Mitchell.

When that time comes, the company will hold a job fair to hire full- and part-time employees to work as clerks, stockers, greeters, etc., Mitchell said. Bass Pro Shops is also looking for employees to hire for their specialty departments like hunting, fishing, camping and boating.

Mitchell suggests hopeful employees visit the company's website to get familiar with its mission and products.

News release:

Bass Pro Shops, McKnight Properties and Columbia County are pleased to announce that America’s most popular outdoor store will locate its 4th Georgia store in Columbia County near Augusta, Georgia. The new 50,000 square-foot Bass Pro Shops® Outpost will be located at the intersection of I-20 and Flowing Wells Road in Columbia County and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014 or the spring of 2015.

“We are very excited to bring Bass Pro Shops to this premier site in Augusta and to be a part of this great community,” stated Johnny Morris, Founder of Bass Pro Shops. “This highly visible location is easily accessible and will allow us to bring Bass Pro Shops’ low prices and friendly, expert service to better serve the many sportsmen and women as well as the many visitors to the Augusta area each year.”

“This joint venture between Bass Pro Shops, McKnight Properties and the County is a wonderful example of a public/private partnership,” said Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross. “The addition of Bass Pro Shops greatly coincides with Columbia County’s efforts to provide more shopping opportunities for our citizens and the region. We look forward to this long term partnership.”

The region enjoys a rich history in outdoor sports with direct access to the Savannah River and 71,000 acres at Clarks Hill Lake. These amenities afford users many exceptional camping, recreational boating, fishing, and hunting opportunities. Columbia County also plays host to numerous national fishing tournaments and boat races.

Nationally, Bass Pro Shops will host over 120 million people visiting their 77 stores and marine centers across America and Canada this year; the average customer stays 2 ½ hours and drives an average distance of 50+ miles. Bass Pro Shops was recently named by Advertising Age magazine as one of the Top 10 Hottest Brands in America along with name brands such as Old Spice, M&M’s, iPad and Droid. Also, Bass Pro Shops has been recognized numerous times for their conservation and outdoor education efforts, as well as being recognized by J.D. Powers & Associates for their customer service excellence.

Bass Pro Shops’ unique, award-winning, mega-sized outdoor stores are known for combining retail with entertainment, conservation and outdoor education. More than just a fishing and hunting store, the Bass Pro Shops store will also offer equipment and clothing for hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, camping, outdoor cooking and more. A gift and nature center will also serve up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture.

The expansive boat showroom will feature Tracker, Nitro, SunTracker, Tahoe, Grizzly and Mako boats built by Tracker Marine Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of fishing boats.

Bass Pro Shops’ unique exterior and interior motifs have branded them as visually appealing, high quality outdoor stores. The outdoors feel is brought indoors through massive log and rock work, large indoor aquariums and water features stocked with native fish species as well as an extensive collection of museum quality fish and wildlife mounts. Historic photos and exhibits will pay tribute to the regions great outdoor heritage.

Other Georgia Bass Pro Shops store locations include Lawrenceville (Atlanta), Savannah and Macon.


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