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Bass Pro Shops coming to East Peoria

May 13, 2010 at 01:15 PM


PEORIA — This is no fish tale. East Peoria landed a lunker.

Bass Pro Shops will open their 58th destination outdoor superstore on riverfront property formerly known as the CILCO ash pond, north of the Murray Baker Bridge, city officials released Thursday.

“There is no other retailer in America like Bass Pro Shops,” said Mayor Dave Mingus. “Their one-of-a-kind destination retail stores attract an average of 3 million people a year to each store. Typically, when Bass Pro Shops comes to a city they attract more businesses which create more jobs, more taxes and a better community.
“We are thrilled they chose to part of our progressive city.”

The store will be 145,000 square feet — about twice the size of the Kohl’s department store on Main Street — and is tentatively scheduled to open in the fall of 2011.Illinois hunting and fishing

It will produce about 300 full-time jobs when it completed. At least 200 other full-time construction workers will be hired during construction.

Bass Pro Shops stores are a combination of museum, art gallery, aquarium, outdoor education, conservation and entertainment. Each store is uniquely themed to the region in which they are located so that no two stores are alike.

“I really enjoyed meeting Mayor Mingus, the City Council and Jeff Giebelhausen (president of Cullinan Properties) and team,” said Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris in a news release. “I appreciate them traveling to other Bass Pro Shops and developing the interest and enthusiasm to invite us to East Peoria.“We are grateful to them and the community for this great opportunity.”

At a special meeting Thursday night, the City Council will vote to approve contracts to Midwest Foundation Corp. of Tremont and AECOM of Peoria to begin preparation of the property.

The East Peoria store will offer outdoor enthusiasts the size of 3½ football fields of shopping with the area’s largest selection of equipment and clothing for hunting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, camping, outdoor cooking and more. A gift and nature center will also serve up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture. A restaurant and themed bowling facility are also planned.

An expansive boat showroom will feature Tracker, Nitro, Mako and SunTracker boats built by Tracker Marine Group — the world’s largest manufacturer of fishing boats. A boat service center will also be available.

Stores are decorated in a cozy, hunting-lodge theme and boast an indoor water feature to showcase fish species that are indigenous to the area. The company also is known for its outdoor-skills workshops, teaching techniques such as fly fishing, Dutch oven cooking, archery hunting and GPS navigation.

The deal ends months of speculation about whether one of the most prominent and popular outdoor recreation goods companies would set up shop in East Peoria. It began last June when Morris visited the city, scouting sites for a possible new store location.

While no commitment was made then, the city still moved ahead with an engineering study of the property. Information from that study, conducted by AECOM in January, focused mostly on construction and infrastructure costs and permits needed for a “major outdoor retailer” to develop the property. While Bass Pro was not named as the potential developer, it was hard pressed not to think otherwise.

The new East Peoria store should be a significant draw for the area because no other Bass Pro Shops exist in Illinois between Bolingbrook and St. Charles, Mo. Bass Pro Shops stores rank among the top tourist attractions in their respective states, with well over 100 million people visiting their stores annually.

Its major competitors in the United States include retailers such as Cabela’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Across the river in Peoria, similar outdoor stores like Gander Mountain, Presley’s Outdoors and Bushwhacker will vie for the same market.

Netting Bass Pro will also help further the development of the Downtown 2010 project—89 acres of vacant land between West Washington and Camp streets—set to begin construction this summer.

Leslie Williams can be reached at 686-3188 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

That’s real cool.  I think I can feel Gander Mountain shaking in its boots.  One question though.  Why does everything always seem to go across the river?  Is Peoria paying any attention at all?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/13 at 01:49 PM

Gander Mountain is pretty over priced and I think they will have a very hard time going against a monster like Bass Pro. It might get rid of some of our smaller sporting goods stores as well. For most of us these smaller stores have been around here for along time and have many loyal customers. Will it stand when Bass Pro gets here?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/13 at 02:25 PM

Yahoooooooooo!!!!  A fly shop within 150 miles.  I will be their the day it opens.  I will drink a cold one when I get home to celebrate.

Posted by stream stalker on 05/13 at 03:14 PM

I really don’t think places like Wolf Hollow Archery will be hurt much by Bass Pro.  If you want a bow set up right, you go to Wolf Hollow and talk to Larry.  I think Bass Pro will be shopped mostly for camo clothes, scents….things like that.  I don’t think people go to local archery shops for camo clothes.  I’m sure they’ll be hurt a little, but nothing they can’t handle.  The experts are still at the local joints.  I can’t wait to make my wife follow me around a store for hours.  Payback time!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/13 at 03:42 PM

yes, you know when gander mountain has the exact same item/brand for almost twice the price of Cabela’s they have gotten a little big for their britches. would do them some good, they have taken advantage of sportsman long enough, B.Pro will hurt them for sure….
hope the local (smaller) guys don’t suffer too much though. they do provide crutial sevices that the chains just don’t seem to get

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/13 at 04:30 PM

Gander can certainly use the competition to help them with their pricing.  I for one will continue doing as much business as possible with the local shops.  I hope Pekin Bass & Bow, Presley’s and Wolf can make a go of it.  We’re pretty fortunate to have 3 great shops in the area.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/13 at 05:01 PM

This will be great for the consumer. Gander probably won’t change prices due to one bass pro shops 15 minutes away, especially since they are a national brand.

I am a fan of presley’s and wolf, but as far as i’m concerned Pekin Bass&Bow; can shut down shop and I wouldn’t lose any sleep at night.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/13 at 05:28 PM

I hope they put a resturant in the place also. I ate at Hemmingway’s at Springfield, Mo. and I gave it a 5 star rating. Also a little competition is a good thing for sportsmen in this area.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/13 at 05:58 PM

Thats awesome news!!! I hope it’s better than the one new Chicago though… thats about the worse BPS Store out of all of the other locations!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/13 at 07:28 PM

I wonder if they will make a marina on the river? Now that would be cool!

Posted by PondGuy on 05/13 at 09:26 PM

I’ve got to say I never thought it would happen, E Peo. just snagged a monster. A lot of the locals already had to compete with BPS online but were they had the edge was you could hold the rod, reel, bow, try on the clothes ect. which is the way I like to shop.
I hope they fair well.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 07:50 AM

Looks like a great location.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 08:37 AM

last trip to Gander mountain to buy a pair of rockys on Ganders web site they were 50.00 cheaper than in their store for same boot, I walked out with nothing and havent been back, I like to try on my boots before I buy them

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 11:22 AM

Try the bow area at Gander.  What a complete hassle to try anything out.  I have a bigger closet in my bedroom than their shooting lane.  I hope BPS can find better “experts” as well.  Like someone said before, E.P. grabbed up a monster.  Good for them.  Peoria….Listen up….PAY ATTENTION!!!  E.P. seems to be a city with some drive and motivation while Peoria politicians sit around like the fat rich guy on the block.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 12:06 PM

Well - Hope you all enjoy your BPS store.  I was glad when they built one here in StLouis but it didn’t take long for the shine to get dull.  The gun counter service is terrible.  And our local tackle shop in Alton typically has a better selection of the popular local baits than they do.  I kinda look at it now like the WalMart of the outdoor world.  And the final straw was when they built the Cabela’s near by.  Turned BPS into a ghost town.  I honestly don’t know how they stay in business.    And there’s no way I go to either for a properly rigged bow and good archery equipment.  I guess it’s nice to have choices but I wouldn’t lose a minute’s sleep if they closed their doors tomorrow.  I always try to support the mom and pop shops every time I can.  But - hey- enjoy the store - they are nicely decorated.  wink

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 12:22 PM

I agree Rat. Service at any big box store like BPS or Cabelas is not #1. The nearest BPS to me is the Bolingbrook location. I only go there to get ideas.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 01:35 PM

Good point Rat. I would agree with you.

You can often buy the same line, lures, scents, and camping equipment at a walmart for much less than BPS or Gander Mountain.
Something about “being cool” makes people think bps is awesomje, but I just look at them like a chain that you need to know about your product you want to purchase, because the people at the counter surely do not.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 03:04 PM

Where do wanna go for our anniversary honey? Bass Pro Shop!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 05:28 PM


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/14 at 07:58 PM

I love Bass Pro just for the sheer amount of merchandise they carry and wifey loves the home stuff.  For service and mechandise, though, Presley’s is awfully tough to beat.  I will still spend my money there.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/15 at 06:39 AM

The way I understand this is E.Peoria will own the ground, building ect. BPS will occupy it. All the details haven’t been released yet but I assume there is a lease for X amount of years. BPS is a draw and it will spin off other businesses, that means more jobs for the area which is good for the local economy, which includes family and friends. I’m sure the people in the area will enjoy the store very much and continue to support the mom & pop businesses also.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/15 at 07:49 AM

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