News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, March 5, 2014
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- "We don't fear competition, we look forward to it," said Eric Jacobsen, Executive Vice President of Gander Mountain.
A little competition never hurt anyone. You can ask Jacobsen about it.
"We think people are going to like our store. Our store is going to be 20 percent larger than Cabela's," he said.
His store just broke ground Wednesday in one of the nation's fastest growing counties.
"[The] market's tremendous. I think we're going to do very well here. The people here are going to enjoy the products and services that we have," said Jacobsen.
But rewind back to October 2013, Bass Pro Shops pulled out of the market, leaving Columbia County wondering -- "What now?"
"They've been upfront about what they've wanted to do. They didn't ask for the world to come and what they said we could depend on," said Chairman Ron Cross.
That's all he and other officials with Columbia County need to know. They think it's the right business for the right location.
"It's so convenient, has excellent exposure to I-20 [and] a lot of acres to work with," said Cross.
That sounds a lot like what Cabela's is working with as well, but the competition isn't new for Jacobsen.
"We compete with Cabela's in lots of different markets," said Jacobsen.
He said Augusta better get ready for Gander Mountain.
"I think you're going to find more opportunities to shop different brands at Gander Mountain," he said. "Customers seem to really like what we're doing, we're very excited to be here."
This will be the fourth Gander Mountain store in Georgia and Commissioner Ron Cross said it is a great addition to what's already a growing area in Columbia County.
On the note of Bass Pro Shops, Cross says it was a loss in the beginning but working with Gander Mountain has proved to be beneficial for everyone involved.
The 52,000 square foot store is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.