Just two days after Gander Mountain announced the launch of a marketing campaign to promote gun safety, the St. Paul-based retailer of outdoor gear said it is opening a “Firearms Super Center” in Rogers.
Gander Mountain is currently renovating a 30,000-square-foot facility, which is located near the intersection of Interstate 94 and Highway 101 and formerly housed a Best Buy. The new location will mark Gander Mountain’s fifth Minnesota store and its first that is “focused specifically on fulfilling the needs of firearms enthusiasts.” It is slated to open later this month.
The store will feature thousands of firearms, as well as firearms accessories, specialty apparel, ammunition, and security equipment. It will feature fewer fishing and other non-firearm-related products than standard Gander Mountain locations.
In addition to selling new guns, the new store will buy and sell a “huge selection” of used firearms, the company said. It will offer firearms products geared toward hunting, self-defense, recreation, and competition—including “rare and hard-to-find firearms and ammunition.”
The company first launched its firearm-focused concept in November 2011, when it opened a store in Germantown, Wisconsin, under the banner Gun World by Gander Mountain. A couple of months ago, it opened its first Firearms Super Center in Ohio.
A spokesman for the privately-held company declined to share specific sales figures but said that “business levels have been encouraging” at the firearm-focused locations. While no plans are solidified for additional firearms-centered locations, the company is “always looking to expand its footprint,” he added.
“Gander Mountain is already recognized as the firearms experts, but with our latest Gander Mountain Firearms Super Center, we are taking the experience of shopping for firearms and accessories to an entirely new level of selection and service,” CEO David Pratt said in a statement. “We are excited to bring this new retail experience and opportunity to the people of Minnesota, and we’re confident that our unmatched selection and the expertise of our specialists will make this a premiere destination for those with an interest in firearms.”
Gander Mountain announced plans for the new Rogers store shortly after launching a marketing campaign that promotes gun safety. Among other things, the campaign involves the sponsorship of a Nascar race car, which will display the following phrases on its hood: “With Rights Comes Responsibility” and “Secure Your Firearms.”
The company’s latest announcements come amid a broad national debate regarding gun control, which intensified following the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Lately, proposed gun control legislation has spurred gun enthusiasts to stockpile ammunition, making it difficult for manufacturers and retailers, including Gander Mountain, to keep up with demand for certain products.
A recent Associated Press report examined the phenomenon and said that in New York—where gun laws were tightened following the Newtown shooting—a Dick's Sporting Goods store puts up a red rope after ammunition deliveries so buyers can line up early to get a number, averting races up an escalator to the gun counter. The store, like others, is also limiting ammunition purchases.
Gander Mountain is among Minnesota’s 25 largest private companies based on revenue, which is estimated to exceed $1 billion annually. The company currently operates 119 stores in 24 states and bills itself as the nation’s largest retail network of outdoor specialty stores.
The new Rogers store marks the latest move in the company’s expansion plans; Gander Mountain added six new stores during the past year and has plans to open new locations in 2013 in Gastonia and Monroe, North Carolina, as well as in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.