by Max Brantley
It's already starting up the publicity, with a news release on the manager of the shop/entertainment venue.
I note this with great interest both because of Otter Creek developer Tommy Hodges' long up-then down-then up pursuit of the store as an anchor for commercial department handily located near state wetlands and because, after much legal wrangling and taxpayer subsidy talk on a proposed North Little Rock location, Bass Pro decided to locate in Little Rock on the strength of the deal Hodges made and the location near the junction of I-430/30. Some highway work is expected to improve access to the area, someday to include other retail, motel, restaurant and other commercial entries. But it's looking like the free market worked and what's not to cheer about that?
Check the jump for an introduction to manager Will Anderson, a native Arkansan who, the news release says, likes to teach kids to "bait a hook and fish, start a campfire and pitch a tent.”
Thanks to Austin Kellerman from Channel 4 for grabbing a photo of work in progress above and saving me a trip out there.
I'm expecting an additional news release Monday from Bass Pro about a call for applicants for jobs at the new store. I'll add some details when I have them.
UPDATE: The jobs fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday next week at the Metroplex Events Center.
One of Will Anderson’s favorite things to do is enjoy time in the outdoors with his family. “We make good memories exploring the outdoors together,” he said. “I enjoy teaching my kids to bait a hook and fish, start a campfire and pitch a tent.”
Anderson’s other favorite thing to do is combine his work experience with his passion for the outdoors. As the store manager for the new Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World opening later this year in Little Rock, Ark., he has succeeded at both.
The company’s first store in Arkansas is located at 1 Bass Pro Drive and is a key anchor for the new 169-acre Gateway Town Center development in Little Rock. The 104,000-square foot sportsman’s paradise also will include the popular Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill. This nautical-themed center, located within the store, features an “ocean-like” atmosphere and design geared for family fun and dining. The store is scheduled to open later this year.
Anderson was born and raised in Arkansas and, grew up hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting with his family. “This is a rare opportunity in retail to get to come back home,” he said. “Helping to bring Bass Pro Shops to Little Rock is such an honor for me as I know it has eagerly been awaited for years.”
As the Little Rock store manager, he is excited to be able to help other families make outdoor memories.
“Our goal is to be the one-stop-shop for Arkansans’ outdoor adventures. We will focus on the future with our dedication to the next generation in our events and free outdoor skills workshops,” said Anderson. “From hunter education and safety classes, to beginning fishing, setting up a campsite, Dutch oven cooking, nature photography and more, Bass Pro Shops not only sells the outdoors products, but also teaches customers how to use them.”
This concept fits well with Bass Pro Shops philosophy in addition to their dedication to conservation. Widely recognized for their efforts in conservation and outdoor education, the Bass Pro Shops store in Little Rock also will partner with local and regional conservation groups to help conserve our natural resources and uphold traditional ways to enjoy the outdoors such as hunting, fishing, camping, boating and more. In fact, the store’s grand opening gets underway with an “Evening for Conservation” event that will be held the night prior to the official opening. It is free and open to the public. More details about these events will be available in the upcoming months.
“We look forward to partnering with the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission and other local conservation groups and agencies to help make a difference,” said Anderson.
Anderson comes to Bass Pro Shops with a 20-plus-year career in retail and was most recently a store manager with Lowe’s. He is married and has three daughters.
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Little Rock is expected to employ approximately 250-300 associates from the area who are knowledgeable and passionate about the outdoors.
“We will work hard to hire individuals who have a great knowledge of the area, and a love of the outdoors, so our customers will be able to get everything they need for their outdoor experience,” said Anderson. “We will support all customers and their needs from the novice to the most avid outdoorsman and everyone in between.”
Bass Pro Shops visitors can shop a huge selection of quality outdoor gear, clothing and accessories from top industry names and at value prices. The store also will feature the complete line of world-famous Tracker® and Nitro® boats.
More than just a hunting and fishing store, however, the Little Rock store also will offer equipment for hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, camping, outdoor cooking and more. A gift and nature center will serve up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to furniture and birdfeeders.
About Bass Pro Shops®
Bass Pro Shops®, which specializes in outdoor fun, operates 77 retail stores and Tracker Marine Centers across America and Canada that are visited by more than 116 million people every year. Bass Pro Shops’ stores, many of which feature restaurants, offer hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor gear while their catalogs and website serve shoppers throughout the world. The company’s Tracker Marine Group® (http://www.trackerboats.com), which has produced the number one selling brand of fishing boats for more than 35 years running, manufactures and sells a variety of boats for fishing and cruising. Family fun is on tap at Bass Pro Shops’ resort Big Cedar Lodge® (http://www.bigcedar.com), voted number six by Travel + Leisure Magazine as World's Best Hotels for Families. For more information, visit http://www.basspro.com. To request a free catalog, call 1-800-BASS PRO. Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bassproshops.