Retail

Gander Mountain closing all stores, including Wichita’s

A going out of business sign hangs on the Wichita Gander Mountain on Friday evening. Gander Mountain has posted on its website that it closing all of its stores and will liquidate all of its merchandise. (May 5, 2017)
A going out of business sign hangs on the Wichita Gander Mountain on Friday evening. Gander Mountain has posted on its website that it closing all of its stores and will liquidate all of its merchandise. (May 5, 2017) The Wichita Eagle

Gander Mountain posted on its website Friday that it is closing all of its stores and will liquidate its merchandise.

The company has a store in downtown Wichita at 605 S. Wichita St., just north of Kellogg on the Arkansas River.

The website said gift cards will be accepted only until May 18.

The company filed for voluntary Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in March and began the work to restructure the company and remain in business. In May, Camping World Holdings bought Gander Mountain and Overton’s.

Camping World sells, services and maintains new and used recreational vehicles along with products and services through its retail locations and membership clubs. Its other brand, Good Sam, offers RV services, protection plans and products.

It wasn’t clear Friday how Gander Mountain would fit into Camping World Holding’s business, although the company said this on its website:

“We at Gander Mountain believe that our best days are still ahead of us and we ask that you join us in welcoming and supporting this successful transition. Camping World shares the same passion for the outdoors as Gander Mountain and our customers, making for a great melding of businesses and outdoor communities.”

Traditional retailers, such as Gander Mountain, have suffered in recent years as more customers have shifted to online shopping. Some chains have shut down completely, while others have closed weaker stores.

Wichita struggled mightily to bring the Gander Mountain store to the downtown Waterwalk development in 2005. The city of Wichita tried for more than a year to lure a Bass Pro to the same location, but the two couldn’t agree how large the incentive package had to be.

After nine months of dickering, Waterwalk developers cut $3 million out of the city's original $30.9 million contribution. But the delay caused Bass Pro to lose interest.

But in spring 2004, as developers and local officials fought for bonds from the Kansas Legislature to pay for the Bass Pro building, the developers heard from then-Gander Mountain chief executive Mark Baker.

Baker had come to town to pick up a Cessna Citation X. Waterwalk had made an earlier pitch to Gander Mountain but got nowhere. But being in Wichita sparked Baker's interest in the project, and they did the deal in a few months.

Dan Voorhis: 316-268-6577, @danvoorhis

  Comments