TAMPA — Gander Mountain, a sporting goods store devoted to the outdoors, opened its first Tampa Bay location on Tuesday.
With headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., the store sells new and used firearms and gear for hunting, fishing and camping, including clothing and footwear.
The store, at 11655 W Hillsborough Ave, is Gander Mountain's first on Florida's west coast and sixth in the state. Others are in Jacksonville, Ocala, Palm Beach Gardens, St. Augustine and Lake Mary, home to Gander Mountain Academy for firearms training.
"There's a huge sporting market in the Tampa area,'' said Gander Mountain spokesman Jess Myers. "It was an area of Florida we thought was underserved.''
The Tampa store is part of a major expansion for the chain, which has opened about 15 locations in the past 18 months. It's also the first of a few big-name sports megastores headed to the area. Also opening are Dick's Sporting Goods at WestShore Plaza in Tampa and Bass Pro Shops in Brandon.
Founded in 1960, Gander Mountain began as a catalog-based retailer in Wilmot, Wis., and was named after Gander Mountain, the highest point in Lake County, Ill., a short distance across the state line. The company, which does about $1 billion a year in revenue, was traded on the Nasdaq from 2004 to 2010 but now is privately owned. It has about 130 stores in 24 states.
The Tampa store will celebrate its grand opening Nov. 22-24 with to-be-announced celebrity appearances, gift card giveaways and other promotions. A recent store opening in Charlottesville, Va., featured appearances by Jacob and Chase Landry from the History television series Swamp People.