News 12 at 11 / Friday, February 7, 2014
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's the same location, same type of store, but this time, leaders are hoping for a different ending.
Earlier today, they announced Gander Mountain will be coming to Columbia County. The Minnesota-based outdoors store will be in the same spot Bass Pro Shops was going to be, right across from the Carmax off I-20, but leaders say this store is here to stay.
At 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon it was time to break the news.
"There has been an arrangement made with Gander Mountain, Minnesota outdoor retail sales to come here to Columbia County," said Columbia County Commissioner Ron Cross right before he and others ripped off a covered sign revealing the store's logo.
It was an announcement with a twinge of deja vu, sounding an awful lot like something we've heard before. Rewind to July 2013 when Cross made the first announcement.
"Columbia County is going to have a Bass Pro Shop," he had said.
This time, it's a different retailer and leaders say it'll have a different ending.
"It's been such a delight to deal with a company that knows what they want, says what they're gonna do, and follow through and do it," Commissioner Cross said.
In fact, dates are already set. The groundbreaking is set for March 5th, with doors opening by October first.
"Their timetable is very ambitious," acknowledged Cross.
"I can tell you that Monday morning plans will be submitted. There's already a groundbreaking scheduled, and they want us to be moving ground before that groundbreaking," said John Engler, VP of McKnight Properties.
When it's finished, it'll be a 52,000 square foot store catering to everything outdoors. Besides their expansive gun counter, they'll also have some type of indoor gun range and training classes. That's not all.
"They're also big in fishing equipment and clothing, anything that you would see at a Cabela's,"
That's the very store located just miles down the interstate, but Cross says they're not intimidated.
"They're ready to start work, so apparently that's not a concern to them," he said.
Instead of worrying about losing business, leaders are focused on what Gander Mountain will bring.
"The jobs it's going to bring to Columbia County as well as the sales tax revenue," Engler said.
"This is kind of an anchor for all kind of development to come down this stretch," said Cross.
Commissioner Cross says it should bring at least 100 full time and 100 more part time jobs to the area.
He also mentioned the only taxpayer money needed for this project will be used to move a sewer line that's in the way.
February 7, 2014
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- After the Bass Pro Shops prospect went belly up, a Gander Mountain store will take its place in Columbia County.
An announcement today solidified the deal between Columbia County commission and Gander Mountain. The store will open fall 2014.
The store will bring another option for outdoor shopping to the area. Gander Mountain will be located in a 52,000-square-foot store to be constructed in the new Flowing Wells Circle shopping center, to be located on Mason McKnight Jr. Parkway, just east of the intersection of I-20 and Wheeler Road.
The store will feature one of the largest selections of new and used firearms in Georgia, according to a release.
It will be the fourth Gander Mountain in Georgia, joining stores in Albany, Valdosta and soon-to-be McDonough.
After a July 2013 announcement, the Bass Pro Shops deal flopped in October 2013. In a 2013 interview, Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said Bass Pro Shops backed out of a former deal from 2007.
Cabela's announced last year it would build a new shop beside CostCo in Richmond County.
An outlet mall is also headed to Augusta after Wednesday's announcement confirmed ongoing speculation.
Have information or an opinion about this story? Click here to contact the newsroom.
Copyright WRDW-TV News 12. All rights reserved. This material may not be republished without express written permission.