Bass Pro opens Sportsman's Warehouse in St. Charles Aug. 23

spectr17

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 Men take the bait on shopping trips to Bass Pro Shops

Tim Renken, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Outdoors Writer
08/16/2001

A big part of the fun in outdoor sports is shopping for and buying neat stuff - things like boots, rain gear, guns, fishing rods, knives, etc.

Proof is in the pilgrimages made by St. Louisans, mostly fishermen and hunters, to the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Springfield, Mo. These people, mostly men, pile into a car _ some even arrange for a van _ and make a weekend of it. They tell their wives they need to stock up on spinner baits, or whatever.

The Outdoor World is among Missouri's top tourist attractions.

One wonders whether these annual pilgrimages will end when Bass Pro opens its Sportsman's Warehouse in St. Charles on Aug. 23. The St. Charles store will have the same selection of spinner baits and most other stuff, so the "stocking up" excuse for the excursions will evaporate.

But the new facility won't have Hemingways Seafood Restaurant, the Knife Sharpening Shop, golf clubs and soccer balls as Outdoor World has.

The Springfield complex has 300,000 square feet of retail space, vs. 70,000 for the St. Charles store. Outdoor World has six aquariums, one containing nothing but bass over 10 pounds, In addition, there's a 4-story waterfall, a turtle pond with a 100-year-old turtle, daily fish feeding shows, an "Ozark" stream with mill and water wheel.

There also are two restaurants, an indoor firing range with a 100-yard rifle tube, an archery range, a laser shooting arcade, art gallery, wildlife museum and a 40,000-square-foot boat display.

There will be a large aquarium at the St. Charles store, and it will be used for casting demonstrations. The warehouse will have a snack bar, an archery range, a laser shooting gallery, a wildlife exhibit and, eventually, a 9,000-square-foot boat showroom.

Will the pilgrimage tradition survive? Certainly. Men have always gone on phony pilgrimages and always will.

Whatever the new St. Charles store offers, however,it won't have an easy time breaking into a local market already well served by outdoor sports retail outlets.

One of those outlets has moved back to its historic location on the Meramec River on Old Missouri Route 30 in Fenton.

Denny Dennis Sporting Goods was at that location for 42 years before a fire on July 13, 1999.

The old building, which had been a meeting place and hangout for clientele that ranged from safari-bound swells to the village neer-do-wells, was damaged so severely that it had to be demolished.

Denny Dennis, himself a Jefferson County institution, and his son, Denny Jr., were forced to relocate into a mall in Concord for the duration.

The new store, slightly larger than the old one and almost twice as large as the one in Concord, certainly lacks the character of the old store. It smells more like new hunting coats than dead minnows.

However, the new store still sells live bait, along with a full range of outdoors gear, including many kinds of guns.
 

robNhood

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I guess that I will be hanging out there when it finally opens. Oh boy...just what I need 1/2 hour from home.

Hey Jesse,
I notice that you read alot of articles from your old home state of Missouri. Do you receive the Missouri Conservationist Magazine still?
 

spectr17

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Yes robnhood, I still get the Conservationist. When  I lived overseas it was a great reminder of home when I checked my mail and found the latest issue.
 
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