Rausch has been the business editor since September 2008, previously serving as senior business reporter. He joined the Chronicle in April 2007. He has written for newspapers in Napoleon, Ohio, Moline, Ill., and Lima, Ohio. He holds a bachelor of science in journalism from Ohio University (1992). In 2006, he received a second place award in business writing from the Association Press in Ohio.
Posted October 19, 2009 09:56 am

Oh no, Bass Pro

We’ve gotten inklings in the past from land developers that the Bass Pro Shops project on River Watch Parkway is on hold.

Today, we got that message from the popular outdoor retailer itself.

"With the economy right now, we just aren't building any new stores.”

That’s the quote from Larry Whiteley, Bass Pro Shops’ communications manager in Springfield, Mo., as reported by the Associated Press.

The context of the quote is explaining why the retailer laid off members of its design department – the people who design the stores – over the weekend. No stores to build, so the outdoor retailer doesn’t need the people to design them.

I’ve talked to Mr. Whiteley before. The last conversation about three weeks ago concerned the Augusta store which has been on the drawing board for 19 months. Bass Pro doesn’t have a ground breaking scheduled, he said, nor has the company have any change of plans to announce.

Stuck in limbo still.

In May, a construction manager for Mullins Group told one of our reporters that Augusta’s Bass Pro was on hold. Mullins is the local partner for Dallas-based MGHerring, which has been trying to get something going at the Village of Riverwatch for a few years.

Richmond County’s development authority insists the store is still coming, just maybe not at the schedule that shoppers would like to see.

The inference from Mr. Whiteley’s quote and information from developers is that this is a project that goes to construction once the economy turns around.

Even if they started building the store today, it would take them more than 10 months to have it ready to open. So, Christmas 2010 shopping at Bass Pro Shops seems unlikely.