St. Paul, Minn.-based outdoor retailer Gander Mountain will enter the Bowling Green, Ky., market with an almost $20 million investment to build a new store that will be located along Interstate 65 and adjacent to a new Camping World Inc. (CWI) store.
The Bowling Green Daily News reported that the new store will be Gander Mountain’s 109th and one of 12 stores opened nationwide next year, according to CEO Mark Baker. The 65,000-square-foot store will employ a sales staff of 80 people.
Camping World, headquartered in Bowling Green since its founding in 1966, will move from its existing operations and build a new 15,000-square-foot store.
The Daily News reported that Baker said both companies have launched a real estate partnership with holdings in Virginia, Florida and several other areas. It extends a partnership announced in May where Camping World agreed to offer Gander Mountain’s Guide Series owned-brand products through its website and catalog.
The existing retail store will be dedicated as the Camping World RV Institute, training technicians and mechanics to service RVs and other camping equipment, according to Brent Moody, senior vice president of business and development for Camping World.
Moody said Camping World will not add on to the existing building for the RV Institute, noting it was a tough decision to move but the company had run out of space.
“It was the best way to serve our customers,” Moody said. “We feel together we’ll be able to provide a one-stop shopping experience for hunting and camping enthusiasts.”
David Garvin, founder of Camping World, was in attendance during Thursday’s (Dec. 21) news conference that announced the move.
He called the development good for the area, but said it had nothing to do with his hopes to bring outdoor supplier Cabela’s to his development in nearby Franklin, which failed to get state incentives during the special session of this year’s General Assembly.
Garvin’s proposed development calls for a 90-acre RV-oriented park on I-65 that would include a Camping World store, decorating center, detail shop, fueling station and “free-range” dry camping for RVers for up to 30 days.