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 3, 2013 02:32 pm - Updated October 4, 2013 09:15 am

Get the sense Bass Pro Shops saga is over?

The reasonable person standard was under assault by the rationale given by Bass Pro Shops’ decision to cancel its Interstate 20 store near CarMax.


Bottom line business idea: Stores make money for the owner.


Chain stores that make billions in annual revenue have a complex market analysis matrix that helps them determine where to place stores. Those things measure money, demographics, traffic. Iconic brand name companies with destination stores don’t decide where to put stores based on a dartboard mentality. (By the way, Forbes says Bass Pro makes $4 billion a year in revenue.)


Twice now, Bass Pro has attempted to place a store along I-20 in Augusta. So there’s something in the matrix that told the company they could make money in Augusta, and they chose the visibility along the interstate highway. As a matter of fact, we saw that in action when they decided to build an Outpost style store instead of its larger standard ones.


The Bass Pro statement said it pulled out of the deal for instances of nondisclosure in its negotiations. It cites only parking arrangements, however, and points out that that was the least of the concerns. OK then, what were the important disclosure concerns?


This is clearly a case of the PR Machine making a fool of the company, especially once information came out about the last-minute demand for additional incentives to get them to change their mind about pulling the Columbia County store.


Not having a recording of that conference call, having been present for the negotiations or access to Bass Pro’s internal systems, we can only go off what’s been made public. The impression being presented by the “clarifying” statement is that the county officials are lying, the pending competition with an archrival had nothing to do with backing out of a project, but instead it was a bad deal because they had to share parking spaces with the county.


Reasonable people tend to have finely-tuned baloney alarms.


A smaller parking lot limits the maximum number of customers who can go to the store at any one time. A major competitor down the street limits the number of customers wanting to hit the parking lot.


But if the store doesn’t have to make enough profit to pay back its construction, the matrix makes it look good enough for Bass Pro to stay in the deal.


If any deal with Bass Pro involves a free store to them, I believe that rules out a store in either Richmond or Columbia counties. I don’t believe we’ll have another round of “Bass Pro coming to Augusta ... but where?”