By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Gander Mtn. opened an hour earlier that planned on May 6 and people began lining up to get in the outdoor store more than an hour before that.
A ribbon-cutting was scheduled at 8 a.m., with the intent of opening the store to the public at 9 a.m.
However, a line of anxious customers converged by 7 a.m. or earlier, and store managers decided to go ahead and open the doors.
While people perused the vast offering of outdoor gear and clothing, the gun counter, which takes up the entire back wall of the store, was a busy spot.
Receiving Supervisor Byron Mayo told touring city and county officials, and Chamber members there for the ribbon cutting, that this store is the first Gander Mtn. facility to be developed from the “ground up.” Ordinarily, the retailer looks for an existing building, he said. The Gadsden store has been redesigned and is unique.
Gander Mtn. is based in St. Paul, Minn., Mayo said. In addition to the Gadsden store, there are locations in Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and Mobile, and the stores will be added in Dothan and Opelika.
Mayo said the store plans a grand opening soon.
The business is the first in the Rivertrace development on the site of the former Goodyear Golf Course, and construction is underway others.
City of Gadsden Chief Building Official Brian Harbison said the building connected to Gander Mountain will house Hobby Lobby, moving over from the George Wallace Drive location. At the opposite end of the development, closer to Wal-Mart, clothing retailer Ross Dress for Less is under construction.
There are four units in between Harbision said, and so far Shoe Carnival and Ulta Beauty are expected to locate there.
Other parcels in the Rivertrace development don’t have tenants yet. Harbison said the city building department has drawings for, but has not issued building permits for Panda Express as an outparcel development, meaning will be in the area, but won’t be connected to the shopping center. There is a family physician clinic in the works, also as an outparcel structure.