First Gander Mountain closed. Then it was going to open under a new name. Then it wasn’t. Now, it’ll reopen as Gander Outdoors.
The former Gander Mountain is slated to open in February as Gander Outdoors, under new corporate ownership
All of us who were confused about the fate of the large store in Rothschild once known as Gander Mountain now have some clarity, finally, about what’s going on with the outdoor supply retailer.
The store, which has been empty for half a year, will reopen next month as Gander Outdoors, says Rothschild Village Administrator Greg Olsen. Gander Outdoors is a new company created by Camping World, which last year bought the rights to all of Gander Mountain’s locations and its website.
Gander Outdoors opened its first location in mid-December, in Lakeville, Minn., and plans to open about half the defunct Gander Mountain stores nationwide, according to the company. Gander Mountain fell into bankruptcy, and Camping World eventually bought its assets through an auction.
A manager with the former Gander Mountain, speaking to City Pages anonymously while the store was being liquidated over the summer, said then that the merchandise was being completely sold off to make way for Camping World’s products. Instead, Camping World formed a new brand, Gander Outdoors, for the former Gander Mountain locations.
Gander Mountain had 160 stores under its umbrella. The Rothschild store, a few blocks from the Cedar Creek Mall, was among the top ten for the company, Gander Outdoors reps told Olsen.
What will Gander Outdoors carry? Based on videos and images of the newly opened stores, merchandise looks very similar to what Gander Mountain carried, with the addition of bicycles to the typical guns, fishing and camping equipment. (Gander Mountain had not carried bicycles.)
The company plans to open 15-20 stores by March—including the one in Rothschild—and another 45 sometime later in 2018. Reopening the local store will be a big deal for Rothschild, Olsen says, as Cedar Creek is one of the main drivers of business activity in the village. Leaders feared the large store might stay dark. “For us it’s about economics,” Olsen says. “Making sure that building is used, that jobs are created. It’s important for keeping the village looking good and attracting other businesses. Businesses attract other businesses. Just look at Rib Mountain Drive.”
The Rothschild store remains closed for now, but a blue banner over the front door gives notice that Gander Outdoors is hiring. All Gander Mountain signage remains on the building. Gander Outdoors officials did not return requests for comment.
There aren’t any other approvals the store should need from the village that would hamper a February opening, Olsen says. Find Gander Outdoors on Facebook or at ganderoutdoors.com.