When Is The Duluth Area Gander Outdoors Opening In Hermantown? [UPDATE]
Newly-rebranded Gander Outdoors, formerly Gander Mountain, is preparing to open with a new name, logo, and strategy in the outdoor retail landscape. The company's website states that Gander Outdoors is looking to bring "a whole new shopping experience to the market for outdoor enthusiast."
They are clear to point out on their FAQ page that this is more than just a new name and logo. Their website explains that the new company is different, saying the following:
Gander Outdoors is a new company, with new ownership, with a new mission. Camping World purchased the rights to Gander Mountain store locations and the website. Many of the Gander Mountain store locations will be converted and open as Gander Outdoors, bringing you a new outdoor goods shopping experience.
The company explains that they will deal in many of the same areas Gander Mountain dealt in, including equipment and supplies for hunting and shooting, fishing, biking, paddle and watersports, camping, and marine parts & accessories. A lot has been made of CEO Marcus Lemonis criticizing Gander Mountain's "bad assortment of guns" as one of the reasons the company failed financially. He is quoted (via guns.com) as saying he wants to offer a "more assortment and better pricing" in the gun category. The company's website says they plan to sell both new and used guns.
The number of Gander Outdoors locations around the country will be less than half of the 162 Gander Mountain stores that were open prior to the declaration of bankruptcy and subsequent sale of the company. Lemonis was quoted (via guns.com) as saying “I’d rather have 50 stores heavily curated for that local market than 150 stores that look like everything is the same, which is essentially what it was. Just a really shi**y inventory system is what they have…never seen something so stupid". This tailor-fit supply mentality should work well for many shoppers, but may make it difficult for an elk hunter that lives in Duluth to find something for their trip out west.
As far as when the company looks to open, the official stance of the company is that stores around the country will start opening in late 2017, with the rest opening in 2018. Their website currently lists no specific planned store openings, with a page on their website that says this information is coming soon. A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission says they plan to open an initial group of 15-20 stores by the end of of the first quarter of 2018 (March 31, 2018). From there, they intend to open 40-45 stores through the second and third quarters of 2018 (which ends September 30, 2018). This accounts for most of the roughly 70 stores the company planned to keep after the reorganization and rebranding.
Gander Outdoors CEO Mark Lemonis posted a video on his Twitter account this week, showing a list of the approximate opening order of stores that will open under the new branding. At the top of the list is the Lakeville, MN location, which is already open. Utica, MI (which appears fourth on the list) is also listed as open on the company website. The Hermantown/Duluth location shows up in the ninth spot on this list, which suggests it will be in line to be one of the next seven stores to open if all goes as planned.
Lemonis does point out that the order of this list could change, depending on contractors completing work and other details that could cause hang-ups, potentially slowing down the opening timeline.
Yesterday, a reporter with the Duluth News Tribune reached out to Lemonis to ask about when the Hermantown store is scheduled to open. His response is right in line with speculation from the SEC document referenced above, putting the Duluth store open before the end of March. He specifically responded to the reporter, saying "Hopefully within a month", which would put the Duluth area in line for seeing a February opening for the store.
The company website still lists a number of open positions for the Hermantown location. Among these are roles like warehouse specialist, shooting sports product specialist, customer service associate, and service technician specialist. Many of these positions have been posted in the last week.
In the meantime, the company's FAQ page offers a lot of information about the transition from Gander Mountain to Gander Outdoors, including information that may be valuable to people with Gander Mountain credit cards, gift cards, and rewards points.