Camping World to acquire local Gander Mountain store
Two months after its former owner filed for bankruptcy, the Gander Mountain store in Hixson is getting a new owner and should have a new name and look by the end of the summer.
Camping World, which already operates 162 stores including its East Ridge RV sales and service facility and campground at 6734 Ringgold Road near I-75, is preparing to take over the Gander Mountain store in the Oak Park Town Center on Highway 153 and at least 62 other stores. Camping World emerged as the top bidder for the bankrupt Gander Mountain in an auction last month.
Last week, Camping World disclosed the locations of at least 63 of the 170 Gander Mountain stores it plans to continue to operate, including Tennessee stores in Hixson and Jackson.
Camping World has until Oct. 6 to determine which additional retail leases it wants to assume and the company said in a filing last week that its current goal is to operate 70 or more of the Gander Mountain stores.
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World and star of the CNBC program The Profit, told the Wall Street Journal he could keep as many as 70 Gander Mountain stores, depending on concessions from landlords and other factors.
“My goal is to keep open as many stores as I possibly can that have a clear path to profitability,” Lemonis told the Wall Street Journal. “In my opinion, the company had a real estate and inventory problem, not a
The outspoken CEO of Camping World last week called some of the management steps taken by Gander Mountain “stupid” and vowed to focus more on fishing equipment and less on firearms within the stores and to concentrate on more profitable store locations. Gun sales declined last fall after the election of Donald Trump, which removed the threat — real or perceived — of tighter controls and limits on gun owners.
Camping World chief operating officer Brent Moody said the new owners of Gander Mountain will “immediately right size the inventory and operate only in retail locations with occupancy costs that we believe support profitable operations.”
The local 50,0000-squarefoot Gander Mountain in Hixson opened in 2014, but its current 15-employee staff that is helping to liquidate the store’s inventory is only about half of what Gander Mountain employed a year ago.
The bankruptcy and merger of Gander Mountain into Camping World comes as Bass Pro Shops prepares to acquire rival Cabela’s in the third quarter of this year. That also will combine two local players in the hunting, fishing and outdoor retailing space.
Bass Pro revised its original offer for Cabela’s to reduce its offer by $500 million to about $5 billion last month. The deal will combine the 85-store Cabela’s chain with about 100 stores operated under the Bass Pro Shops banner.
Last year, another sporting goods retailer, Sports Authority, also filed for bankruptcy and closed 300 stores, including a local outlet in Brainerd.
Gander Mountain in Hixson is conducting a store clearance sale as it liquidates its inventory following a March bankruptcy filing by the St. Paul, Minn.-based outdoor retailer. Camping World, which has purchased the assets of the bankrupt Gander Mountain, has identified the store on Highway 153 as one of those it plans to continue to operate.