Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bass Pro Shops Says Local Store a Rumor, So Far

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bass Pro Shops Says Local Store a Rumor, So Far

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Brune Mathis, Times-Union senior business writer

Speculation continues to surface that Bass Pro Shops might open one of its Outdoor World megastores in Jacksonville.

"They're strictly rumors," said spokesman Larry Whiteley about the latest talk that the Springfield, Mo.-based company was looking for a location in Jacksonville.

Rumors that the growing chain could open a Jacksonville store have circulated for at least two years.

Whiteley, however, does not deny a possible Jacksonville location. "We're looking at all options at locations all over the country," he said, adding that the company has "nothing to announce on that one yet."


Whiteley said not to read anything definitive into the word.

Bass Pro Shops sells its outdoor gear, clothing and accessories over the Internet, through its catalogs and also at its more than 20 stores across the country. It intends to operate at 27 locations by the year's end.

In Florida, it operates in Orlando, Islamorada, Destin, Fort Lauderdale and also intends to open next year in Fort Myers. That store will comprise a 75,000-square-foot retail store along with a restaurant, boat showroom and boat service center.

Last month, Bass Pro Shops announced plans for a 130,000-square-foot Outdoor World in Broken Arrow, Okla. That store will feature a stocked lake and a gift and nature center along with its traditional selection of outdoor gear for fishing, hunting, camping, backpacking and other outdoor activities.

Whiteley said the Outdoor World stores generally range from 140,000 to 300,000 square feet in size.

Six stores will open this year at at least eight or nine will open next year, he said. Stores opening this year are in Auburn, N.Y.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Columbia, Mo.; Las Vegas; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Vaughan, Ontario.

Bass Pro Shops operates its headquarters at a 1.7 million-square-foot Sportsman's Park Center in Springfield. The company reports that there are more than 113 million hunters, anglers and bird and wildlife watchers in the country, along with 39 million boaters and 36 million campers. They spend $108 billion a year on travel, equipment and other purchases.

RETAIL UPDATE: Those walls going up at Regency Commons will include the reported Beall's Department Store. The city approved construction for the 80,000-square-foot store at 860 Commerce Center Drive at a cost of $1.6 million. Regency Commons is the 260,000-square-foot shopping plaza under development on 33 acres east of Southside Boulevard, just north of the Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse. Sleiman Enterprises will develop the center. Beall's is expected to open in early November.

-- Regency Commons is south of Kendall Town Center, the almost 300-acre mixed-use development by Gate Petroleum Co. …

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