Gander Mountain has got the gear to get you out of the office and up the mountain. The company operates nearly 120 outdoor sporting goods stores focused on a variety of outdoor activities, such as hunting, camping, and fishing, in some two dozen states. In addition to outdoor equipment and related accessories, the stores also sell apparel and footwear. While Gander Mountain has sold fishing and pontoon boats since 2007 through an arrangement with Tracker Marine Group, a unit of Bass Pro Shops, the retailer exited its all terrain vehicle (ATV) and boat categories by 2010. Founded in 1960 as an outdoor catalog operation, Gander Mountain went private in early 2010.
Besides brick-and-mortar stores, the company makes money through other channels. Its Overton's subsidiary (acquired in 2007 for $70 million) is a catalog and Internet marketing company that targets recreational boaters. In 2008 Overton's mailed out its new parent company's first catalog (containing Overton's, Gander Mountain, and merchandise from other vendors) in 12 years, marking Gander Mountain's return to its roots in direct marketing.
The sporting goods chain has opened a handful of new stores during the past couple of years despite the economic downturn and has expanded its retail footprint in 2012 in Alabama, Indiana, North Carolina, and Georgia. Instead of continuing to grow its retail operations, however, Gander Mountain is now focused on expanding its e-commerce business and improving the profitability of its retail stores.
Gander Mountain is looking to diversify its revenue by outfitting some of its stores with indoor shooting ranges. The move serves as a way for the sporting goods retailer to not only promote safety but the sale of its firearms. Gun sales have spiked during the past few years as consumers fear the passage of legislation that will potentially strip them of their right to bear arms. In one such instance, management at Gander Mountain's Ocala, Florida, store (one of a handful of stores in the state) is talking to city planners in 2011 with hopes of expanding its 65,000-sq.-ft. store with an indoor shooting range, as well as build Gander Mountain Academy, a firearms facility that will boast classrooms, virtual simulators, and a firing range. – less