An outdoors advocacy group is excited that shuttered outdoors retailer Gander Mountain is opening up under a different brand.
Gander Mountain filed for bankruptcy last year and stores in Illinois closed. The retailer was bought by Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis. He said in a Facebook Live video last week that a slew of stores are opening under the name Gander Outdoors.
“They’re going to be opening at a very rapid pace,” Lemonis said. “With all of them being open by the end of May, the middle of June.”
Gander Outdoors stores are expected to open in Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, and O’Fallon.
Lemonis said when the stores open, customers will notice a difference.
“Rather than just opening up a big box we decided to change it up a little bit,” Lemonis said. “What you’ll see is four distinct departments with four distinct specialities and brands.”
Michael Rasmussen, with Illinois outdoors advocacy group Capitol Outdoors, said it’s not just hunters and fishers who will find what they’re looking for; the new stores will also attract other outdoors enthusiasts as well.
“It’s going to be more for hikers, you know, a different demographic for the outdoors,” Rasmussen said. “So that’s what I think is most exciting.”
Rasmussen said there’s a ton of newfound interest outside of traditional groups of hunters and anglers.
“It’s a cool thing to be outside now,” Rasmussen said. “It’s cool to be out hiking and enjoying that stuff. And to me, that’s always been cool though.”
Rasmussen said he wasn’t surprised by Gander Mountain closing because of high pricing. He expects Gander Outdoors to be more competitive.