When Kevin Austin, general manager of the new Gander Mountain store set to open in Mt. Juliet, says it has something for every outdoorsman, he's not exaggerating.
"If it's made, we've either got it or we can get it," says Austin, a native of Dover. "Speaking as an outdoorsman who has been hunting and fishing since I was as kid, Gander Mountain offers the most complete line of outdoors gear anywhere."
The store is scheduled to open June 3, and will be open for business seven days a week.
It is one of 22 new Gander Mountain outlets being opened around the country this year, bringing the total to 140 stores nation-wide, with more planned for next year. The Mt. Juliet location is the third Gander Mountain store in Tennessee, joining ones in Knoxville and Jackson.
With 105 employees and a major contribution to the area economy, cities and communities around the country are clamoring for a chance to land a Gander Mountain outlet. How did Wilson County/Mt. Juliet manage to do it?
"This is a great outdoors location," Austin says. "We've got Old Hickory and Percy Priest lakes in our back yards, along with several other great fishing lakes and rivers in the area. Middle Tennessee is also a big hunting area. This is an ideal site for a store to serve the needs of hunters, fishermen, campers and other outdoorsmen."
Gander Mountain carries strictly outdoors gear and related products, including clothing and footwear, but no athletic game/sports products.
"By focusing exclusively on an outdoors line, we cater specifically to the needs of outdoorsmen and can better serve them," Austin says.
One of Gander Mountain's specialties is firearms and ammo. At a time when many stores are cutting back on firearms and ammunition products, Gander Mountain offers a virtually unlimited selection.
"We are a firearms super-center," Austin says. "We carry a thousand different kinds of firearms, and we can order anything that a customer wants that we don't have in stock. That includes not only modern firearms, but muzzleloaders and accessories, along with a full line of archery products."
He adds: "In addition to a complete line of new firearms, we also carry used firearms, and we buy and trade. Anyone interested in firearms or ammunition of any type can find what they're looking for at our store."
One thing Gander Mountain does not deal in is boats, other than kayaks and canoes. However, if someone is interested in a boat and motor, the store can assist them by directing them to a subsidiary outlet.
"If we don't carry it, we can help our customers get it," Austin says.
Austin says the fact that Gander Mountain stores do such a heavy volume of business "allows us to offer the best merchandise at moderate prices." He says the best testimony is the company's incredible growth in recent years.
"Gander Mountain is growing like crazy throughout the country," he says. "That indicates that customers like our products and service and keep coming back.
"I'm convinced that our store will be popular with not only outdoorsmen from the Wilson County area, but will become a shopping destination for outdoorsmen throughout Middle Tennessee."