News 12 First at Five/ Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's been a deal seven years in the making, but a plan to bring Bass Pro Shops to the area is officially dead. Columbia county commissioners just found out the outdoor giant would not be opening its doors.
They announced back in July they would build right across from CarMax off exit 195 on I-20. Then, the very next day, Cabela's announced they would be building beside CostCo in Richmond County. Fast forward a couple of months, and Cabela's is the only store to break ground.
Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver says, "It will open next year, they're already out there moving dirt, so that project is moving forward."
But, that's not the case for Bass Pro Shops. Columbia County Commission Chairman, Ron Cross says, "They informed us they had looked at their business plan. They did not want to go head to head with Cabela's, and they decided it was not in their best interest to come to this market."
Which is bad news for people like Craig Brown, who works right beside where Bass Pro Shops planned to build. He's an avid hunter, and he says he was looking forward to the short walk next door.
"We could walk over there at lunchtime if we wanted to," Brown said.
But others, like Dwayne Schultz, who also works next door, are happy the store isn't opening.
Schultz says, "I'm happy. I'm happy they aren't coming. So now we don't have to be in a hurry to move."
There were talks of more businesses coming to that area after Bass Pro Shops moved in, and Schulz was afraid his small business would have to move.
"We got a lot of big machines that cost a lot of money to move," he explains.
With Bass Pro Shops out of the picture, it also takes those other stores and restaurants out of the picture, which is not such good news for Columbia County.
Cross says, "Now, the emphasis has got to go back to finding some other similar anchor to come in, so that these other people would continue to want to come."
Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013
COLUMBIA COUTNY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross confirms Bass Pro Shops will not be coming to Columbia County.
In Tuesday's Commission meeting, he announced that this week the company called to say they will no longer be building a store in the area due to the presence of Cabela's.
Bass Pro Shops says they don't feel like the marketplace is strong enough.
The company is still in the due diligence period so they can pull out without penalty.
Columbia county is continuing discussions with the owner of the property.
City officials say it's a valuable piece of land and expect to find something else for the area in the near future.
Cross says this isn't the first time Bass Pro Shops has backed out of a deal.
He says back in 2007 Columbia County had a contract but the company decided to go with Richmond County, but that ended up not working out.