Bass Pro Shops backs out of Columbia County deal

County says competitor's plans had role in decision

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 8:08 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 2:00 PM
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Bass Pro Shops has canceled its plan to build a store in Columbia County, officials announced Tuesday.

Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said the company informed county officials on Friday that it was backing out of the plan announced in July to build a 50,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops Outpost on Mason McKnight Jr. Park­way, near the intersection of In­terstate 20 and Flowing Wells Road.

Cross said company officials said they didn’t think the Augusta market was big enough for that store and one being built by its competitor, Cabela’s Inc.

Cabela’s announced on July 25 – the day after Bass Pro Shops’ announcement – that it would construct a 42,000-square-foot store near Costco at the Village at Riverwatch commercial development.

“Bass Pro Shops is afraid of Ca­bela’s and won’t be coming to Co­lum­bia County,” Cross said. “A contract was signed, but they decided it wasn’t in their interest to proceed with it. I think we have learned they are not really honorable people.”

County Administrator Scott John­son said a few months ago that Bass Pro Shops officials seemed eager to make a deal and asked for few
incentives.

“They basically came with their hats in their hands,” he said.

The deal worked out with the county, McKnight Properties and the Columbia County Development Authority provided that Bass Pro Shops would purchase eight acres from McKnight and donate six to the county. In turn, the county would install and maintain a public parking lot, which was also to be used as a park-and-ride program for I-20 motorists, Johnson said.

The store was expected to provide jobs for more than 200 people and create a big boost to county sales tax revenues. Negotiations and planning took about eight months of intense work, but it all began to unravel after the Cabela’s announcement, officials said.

Johnson said it soon became evident that Bass Pro Shops was getting cold feet. He said company officials were slow to provide details and continued to say they were in a “due diligence” period of the contract until Friday.

“We got them on a conference call on Friday and that’s when they said they weren’t coming,” Johnson said.

This is the second time in five years that Bass Pro Shops has pulled out of an announced deal. In 2008, it announced it was going to build a store in Richmond County along River Watch Parkway. Those plans never got off the ground. In 2011, the sporting goods chain placed its Augusta plans, and other potential stores across the nation, on hold because of the economy.

Calls to Bass Pro Shops and McKnight Properties were not returned Tuesday evening.

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bdouglas
5049
Points
bdouglas 10/01/13 - 08:15 pm
11
1
Bummer. I like Bass Pro

Bummer. I like Bass Pro better than Cabela's most of the time.

That last line from Mr. Cross is pretty funny, and a bit foolish.

tckr1983
360
Points
tckr1983 10/01/13 - 08:18 pm
8
2
BS

But Bristol/Kingsport/Johnson City Tennessee is big enough for both? 250,000 less people... That's twice, get outta here and dont let the door hit you in the rear on your way out.

thetruth1
35
Points
thetruth1 10/01/13 - 08:36 pm
11
1
Bass Semi-pro

I've shopped both and Cabela's offers a superior product line. I have no doubt that they are indeed "scared". Looks like Bass Pro is a Bass No! Let's support Cabela's and wave goodbye to the amateurs...

Riverman1
84217
Points
Riverman1 10/01/13 - 08:37 pm
18
1
Countyman did it.

Countyman did it.

redfish
640
Points
redfish 10/01/13 - 08:39 pm
9
13
This cannot be true...

Columbia county is the perfect place to live and do business. No one ever decides NOT to go to Columbia county. There is zero crime, everyone is wealthy, all children are perfect students, the county govt is a model of efficiency and wisdom, and the school system is a model for Ivy League colleges. Bass Pro must not realize how great Columbia county is or they would build several stores there.

There should be an investigation into the real reason a store would decide not to locate in the greatest place on Earth.

harley_52
23463
Points
harley_52 10/01/13 - 08:40 pm
6
15
I Think It May Have Been....

....all the bragging by some Columbia County residents as they badmouthed Augusta that scared BPS away.

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 10/01/13 - 08:41 pm
7
4
Those who are regular to comment on AC articles will love it to

see how countyman boasts about this. He will get many thumbs down on his post!

Gage Creed
17277
Points
Gage Creed 10/01/13 - 09:13 pm
20
2
If only Columbia County had

If only Columbia County had secured a movie theater for the property....

Is it just me or do Ron Cross' statements sound like some grade school playground bravado?

KSL
130090
Points
KSL 10/01/13 - 09:21 pm
6
3
Yeah

Our Sam's is opening day after tomorrow. Already bought gas @ $2.95, that is to include the .9 there.

Dixieman
15015
Points
Dixieman 10/01/13 - 09:28 pm
13
1
Ooooooooooooooooooh, Ron!

Those words may come back to haunt you someday! Losing your cool is never good in public (or private) life.
Though July 24 to October 1 is an awfully short period of time to have this project alive.
I miss Bass Pro already! Not. Someone else will snap up the property if it is really a good retail location.

triscuit
3086
Points
triscuit 10/01/13 - 09:35 pm
7
2
I can't believe it was kept

I can't believe it was kept hush hush over the last few days!

countyman
20151
Points
countyman 10/01/13 - 09:41 pm
1
17
Bass Pro

Weird? They'll be returning to metro Augusta sooner or later. I hope somebody at the Chronicle can find out why their really not coming.

I guess Bass Pro will become apart of the 69 acre mixed use development at Walton Way Extension/I-20.

At least the Cabela's is under construction in North Richmond.

moderate321
321
Points
moderate321 10/01/13 - 09:50 pm
18
1
Ron Needs to Show Some Restraint

Calling Bass Pro Shops names is certainly not the way to convince OTHER retailers that they should come to Col Co.

my.voice
4824
Points
my.voice 10/01/13 - 09:54 pm
20
2
"I think we have learned they

“Bass Pro Shops is afraid of Cabela’s and won’t be coming to Columbia County,”

Afraid of cabelas? No, Mr Cross, it's called good business sense. As an elected official you need to make better comments, not burn the ships.

"I think we have learned they are not really honorable people.”

Ron Cross..... of all the dumb, egotistical, bridge burning things you could say, have you no class? And you, businessman Cross, never backed it of a deal? Now we both know better, don't we?

Gage Creed
17277
Points
Gage Creed 10/01/13 - 09:58 pm
8
2
North Richmond? How did VA

North Richmond? How did VA get into this conversation? (props to gnip gnop)

harley_52
23463
Points
harley_52 10/01/13 - 10:05 pm
6
3
"At least the Cabela's is under construction in North Richmond."

Huh?

Just yesterday we had people claiming "North Richmond County" didn't exist, maps clearly showing it does exist be damned.

What lies just outside and below the Southern border of Columbia County? Cabellas?

gaflyboy
4852
Points
gaflyboy 10/01/13 - 10:08 pm
5
0
redfish 10/01/13 - 08:39 pm

I was waiting for a punchline. Didn't see one, but I still don't rule out sarcasm.

You new to the area?

harley_52
23463
Points
harley_52 10/01/13 - 10:08 pm
9
2
Wasn't Bass Pro Shops First Planning.....

....to locate in Richmond County, then changing their mind in favor of Columbia County (aka "the land of milk and honey")?

When they opted out of Richmond County, were they mocked and taunted by Richmond County officials?

sylar
6
Points
sylar 10/01/13 - 10:30 pm
4
4
my.voice

Good business since?? yes, because "Bass No Shops" knows their product cannot compete Cabela's

curly123053
4676
Points
curly123053 10/01/13 - 10:45 pm
7
2
Hmmmm????

Maybe Aiken County can entice BPS to move there with the Green Jackets!

dichotomy
33082
Points
dichotomy 10/01/13 - 10:56 pm
15
0
Well, we all have our

Well, we all have our disappointments. I know exactly how they feel. They lost Bass Pro, and we haven't gotten our Five Guys.

countyman
20151
Points
countyman 10/01/13 - 11:02 pm
2
14
Location

Curly123053.... Bass Pro loves to be located near the interstate, and not in the downtown of a suburb.

The sarcastic remarks about Deke are even funnier now, because we can truly see what the other counties have for leadership lol.

raul
4899
Points
raul 10/01/13 - 11:05 pm
11
0
Bass Pro pulling out makes

Bass Pro pulling out makes sense to me. Why would you want to lose exclusivity and compete with a similar company? Hey Ron, it's just business, nothing personal, like you tried to made it. That was unprofessional. Not the first time he lost his cool. Remember Magnolia Trace? On a side note, I see we have two new posters, i.e. Redfish and Mr. Fish. Red Herrings?

like-it-is
322
Points
like-it-is 10/01/13 - 11:24 pm
3
1
REALLY?

REALLY?

Young Fred
17467
Points
Young Fred 10/01/13 - 11:30 pm
8
0
bottom line people, bottom

bottom line people, bottom line

justputtin
1414
Points
justputtin 10/01/13 - 11:34 pm
13
0
"Not really honorable people"?

Seriously? This is coming from Ron? Anyone remember Magnolia Trace? What a crock. Very high opinion of himself. Very unprofessional comment. Scott Johnson needs to coach him obviously.

LeConteSkier
518
Points
LeConteSkier 10/01/13 - 11:55 pm
6
2
Augusta and Greenville get Cabela's

Bass Pro will wind up in Columbia and Asheville since there is also a Cabela's going in Greenville SC. I could also see Charleston eventually with a Cabela's since Myrtle Beach and Savannah have Bass Pro. It would be sweet if they bump up the square footage to 100,000 sq feet not only to rub it in to Bass Pro but to gain sales that they wont get. I am now a 100% Cabelas fan after this announcement.

rebellious
20780
Points
rebellious 10/02/13 - 12:03 am
13
0
One Fish

Two Fish, Redfish, Blue fish.

Richmond County triumphs for once. And after being trumped.

Your dang right it is a competition. Does CC give a rats rear about our tax base? No, and they have shown time and time again they don't, as a government.

So.....Go Cabela's, your market share increased before the grand opening.

Welcome to Richmond County. And never forget, the majority of hunters, fishermen, and otherwise sportsmen aren't on the hill. They live out by me and drive $40,000 trucks, work 60 hour weeks, work hard and play harder. And they spend on sports equipment. So don't market to the West Side, Hill Section, Urban Center or East Boundary. They live in 30815. Check it out!!

KSL
130090
Points
KSL 10/02/13 - 01:52 am
6
1
What the heck is with "The

What the heck is with "The Five Guys"? I drive by it almost daily and have not been enticed to enter yet. Countyman, get real!

KSL
130090
Points
KSL 10/02/13 - 01:55 am
3
3
Don't get me wrong. Going by

Don't get me wrong. Going by the countyman way of thinking, I am glad they chose Aken first.

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