No “store closing” signs are up at the Eden Prairie Gander Outdoors, but store employees said Monday that the store is closing. They have not been given a closing date.
The Eden Prairie store re-emerged about 18 months ago as a Gander Outdoors after it was on the closing list of bankrupt Gander Mountain. Gander Mountain declared bankruptcy in 2017. A new ownership group led by Camping World bought assets and reopened a number of the 160 locations that had closed.
In early September, Gander Outdoors announced plans to close, sell or repurpose up to 37 locations nationwide as it shifts toward recreational-vehicle sales, service and parts. Only about 40 Gander Outdoors stores do not sell or service RVs, including the stores in Eden Prairie, Bemidji, Minn., and Onalaska, Wis.
The Bemidji location started its closing sales a few weeks earlier and is now discounting nearly everything 60%, employees said.
“I expected this since the one is Bemidji is closing, too,” said Bemidji resident Noah White as he shopped for bargains in the Eden Prairie store Monday.
Nearly everything except guns, ammo and generators is discounted 40% in Eden Prairie.
Locations in Lakeville, Forest Lake, Hermantown and Baxter all sell or service RVs.
Calls to reach Marcus Lemonis, chief executive of Camping World and the star of CNBC’s “The Profit” were not returned. In an August earnings call, Lemonis said: “In those locations where we don’t sell RVs we are in the process of analyzing which locations are going to move forward.”
Gander Outdoors in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Sheboygan, Grand Chute and Onalaska, Wis.; Chesterfield, Mo.; Paducah, Ky.; Florence, Ala.; Rockford and Janesville, Ill.; and Buffalo, N.Y., are in the process of closing or have already done so.
In July, Lemonis closed his apparel store in City Center in downtown Minneapolis. Originally a Len Druskin outlet before Lemonis bought the assets and inventory in 2017, he renamed it Shop the Runway and later Union 73.
He also owns the House, an outdoor equipment retailer in St. Paul he purchased in 2017, and three Bentley’s Pet Stuff stores in Edina, Excelsior and Minneapolis, down from seven Twin Cities locations in early 2018.
Earlier this month, Retail Dive, a retail analysis publication, placed Camping World on a list of a dozen retailers with a “high chance of bankruptcy in the next 12 months,” based on data from CreditRiskMonitor.
John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633