Outdoor superstore Gander Mountain officially opened in Albany Tuesday. The store will have an official grand opening event later. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)
ALBANY — Outdoor superstore Gander Mountain, located next to the Albany Mall, officially opened its doors to the public for the first time this week.
Residents of Albany and southwest Georgia have anxiously awaited the opening of the national retailer, since plans for the store were announced last year.
“I’ve been waiting for this place to open,” said Albany resident Robert Lewis. “Now that I’m inside, I can’t decide what I want to get first. I’ve been looking at getting my son a shotgun for Christmas and they’ve got a good selection of new and used guns.”
Lewis continued by saying that, in addition to getting his son a gun, he’ll probably get Christmas gifts for quite a few people in his life. He’s also hoping he might end up with a few things himself.
“My brother likes to fish, so I’ll get him some bait,” Lewis said. “They’ve also got a bunch of clothing too. I wouldn’t mind some good pants, some Carhartts maybe. Maybe I can get my wife to come by here this weekend.”
According to store manager George Kokinda, a lot of customers, like Lewis, have been waiting for the store to open and have been coming by the location for weeks checking it out.
“There’s been a lot of folks interested,” Kokinda said. “All week they’ve been looking in the windows and doors trying to see what it’s like inside. We’ve had pretty good crowds since we opened. The customers have been real supportive.”
Kokinda said, most of the customers he’s talked to are excited that they are able to come to one location to find things for a variety of outdoor recreation. In turn, he said the store and its employees are really looking forward to getting to know the community and helping them with their needs.
“We’re here for the community,” said Kokinda. “They are excited too. It’s been great.”
Gander Mountain, which originated in Wisconsin in 1960, has grown into one of the largest retailers of hunting, fishing, camping, marine and outdoor recreation products in the country. With the opening of the Albany store, the company now has 120 stores in 23 states.
The store will be hosting a grand opening the weekend Nov. 22.
“It’ll be a big event.” said Kokinda. “We’ll have lots of stuff going. We’ll have some special guests too. It will be a lot of fun.”