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5 Questions with Ron Cross about Bass Pro Shops

Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 8:16 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 8:42 AM
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Bass Pro Shops made a big splash last week when news broke that the company would no longer build an outpost store off Interstate 20 in Columbia County.

Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross   Staff
Staff
Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross

County officials allege that Bass Pro reneged on its deal to open a 50,000-square-foot retail store because of competition from a future Cabela’s under construction within the Village at Riverwatch development.

They also said Bass Pro asked for additional incentives, including $10 million to construct the building, in exchange for sticking with the original plan.

The company, which backed out of a similar deal in Richmond County in 2011, rebutted accusations by saying the county failed to disclose certain terms of negotiation, such as a park-and-ride program for I-20 motorists.

Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross, who spoke out against Bass Pro last week after the latest developments, answered five questions by e-mail about the situation for The Augusta Chronicle.

Q: What was the first word out of your mouth when you heard Bass Pro Shops wanted an extra $10 million?

A: I did not hear of the 10 million until a day after the other news, but I think I just said, “No crap (substituted word), I guess they would!” This came after I inquired if they named an additional request and was told they would come for ten million.

Q: Bass issued a statement saying it didn’t pull out over fear of competition. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

A: No written evidence, but in their conversation with our administrator they stated that the competition would dilute the market and not make it attractive for them. This was after information they were going to build a larger store to better compete with Cabela’s.

Q: Besides the parking lot issue cited by Bass Pro as an example of nondisclosure in negotiations, what else were they talking about?

A: They claimed that we had knowledge of Cabela’s and withheld it from them. We did (not) have any knowledge and were as surprised as anyone else. We actually had questions if it was really true.

Q: In hindsight, do you think Richmond County’s experience with Bass should’ve served as a warning to Columbia County?

A: More truthfully, our previous experience was a big warning. We had little knowledge of the true situation with Richmond County. They came to us with the story that this was a new crew, apologized to us about the past and promised that they were going to definitely be coming to Columbia County. The land owner was also jilted by them before but believed their story of a new concept and beginning.

Q: Would you have done anything differently in your negotiations with the company?

A: Probably not. They came to us and made very definite promises. Both us and the land owner were skeptical, but with their continued promises to come to Columbia County, we began to believe and went on in to serious planning.

Comments (11) Add comment
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nocnoc
45118
Points
nocnoc 10/07/13 - 09:28 pm
7
0
one of those things

we'll never know the whole story about.

I tend to believe Bass Pro was scared off by Cabela’s ability to
deliver a better store.

Right now, in Augusta, Bass Pro has about as much credibility as a
certain politician.

Little Lamb
47012
Points
Little Lamb 10/07/13 - 10:46 pm
5
1
i. e.,

Fred (What, me worry?) Russell - - - - - ?

Little Lamb
47012
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Little Lamb 10/07/13 - 10:54 pm
8
2
Urban Gardens

It is a good thing that Cabela's is bringing their store here. After the Affordable Care Act provisions kick in, people will be spending so much on heath insurance that they will have to learn how to hook, net, trap, and shoot (arrow, bullet, and shot) their fleshly food.

City dwellers will need to get used to hearing roosters crow morning and afternoon, because folk will need to gather eggs from their own hens.

Also, it would be good if Park's Seed Company would open up an outlet so people could learn how to grow beans, corn, okra, peas, and greens in gardens.

Times will be gettin’ hard, boys.

Riverman1
87132
Points
Riverman1 10/08/13 - 07:40 am
7
1
Hope Cabela's Goes Bigger

Let's hope we get something good out of this and Cabela's decides to build a bigger store than the tiny one they have planned. This is not the usual, full Cabela's store. It will be one of the smallest, if not the smallest in the nation. I note Cabela's is also having an event at the new Columbia County Exhibition Center. Not that it means anything.

soapy_725
43772
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soapy_725 10/08/13 - 08:42 am
1
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Seems as if Cabela's understands ARC demographics. You think?
Unpublished

An outlet store to match a rear positioned "human outlet".

soapy_725
43772
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soapy_725 10/08/13 - 08:44 am
1
0
There are a lot of gaping _holes in CSRA. No amount of $$$ can
Unpublished

fill there holes. They are bottomless sink holes.

soapy_725
43772
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soapy_725 10/08/13 - 08:50 am
0
0
Was XX CROSS's lips moving? $$$, not truth sets him free.
Unpublished

Was XX CROSS's lips moving? $$$, not truth sets him free.

soapy_725
43772
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soapy_725 10/08/13 - 08:53 am
1
0
Same "s.e. grin" from the overstuffed water/sewage/rain tax bill
Unpublished

Gird up your loins, hold them tight and beware of the "SMILE".

seenitB4
90981
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seenitB4 10/08/13 - 09:22 am
3
2
Bass Pro

I heard that they had lucrative deals in other parts of the country * they are in business to make money.....not playmates in Richmond/Columbia counties.
Yall need to watch SHARK TANK sometimes..:)

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 10/08/13 - 09:24 am
0
0
Not wishing
Unpublished

bass amateur shops any bad luck, BUT!!!!!!! Won't be visiting any of them here in the Atlanta area.

grinder48
2019
Points
grinder48 10/08/13 - 09:30 am
0
0
Truth Unknown
Unpublished

I still think someting smells funny in all this. In answering the question about evidence that BPS was "afraid" of Cabelas, Ron Cross says that there's nothing in writing. Is there anything in writing stating BPS demanded an additional $10 million that wasn't part of the original deal? The only thing I've seen is people saying that happened but BPS didn't say anything about that in their written statement. Again, not defending BPS, I'm just very leery of the local politicians and power brokers ...

Little Lamb
47012
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Little Lamb 10/08/13 - 09:31 am
5
1
Outrageous Demands

Well, if Bass Pro Shops expect taxpayers to buy the land for them, pave the parking lot for them, build the building for them, and give them property tax breaks; then the CSRA does not want that kind of fascist business in our area.

I would welcome them with open arms if they played by the rules of free enterprise.

Mr. Thackeray
953
Points
Mr. Thackeray 10/08/13 - 09:43 am
3
2
Johnny Morris is

a shrewd business man and he usually gets what he wants due to the economic impact his stores generate as businesses develop around them.

raul
5334
Points
raul 10/08/13 - 09:50 am
4
1
I wonder if Richmond County

I wonder if Richmond County and Columbia County government officials ever collaborate on anything? Maybe monthly or ever other month meetings to discuss mutual topics of interest. Does anyone know if this is already happening?

Little Lamb
47012
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Little Lamb 10/08/13 - 10:22 am
2
1
Collaboration

Good questions, Raul. We have heard Walter Sprouse (exec. dir. of Rich. Co. Development Authority) say he has to keep his communications with prospects secret lest speculators drive land prices up. If he feels he has to maintain secrecy, it is doubtful he would tip off Col. Co. development people as to whom he is dealing with.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 10/08/13 - 12:32 pm
2
1
Bass who? This is no longer

Bass who? This is no longer news.

nocnoc
45118
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nocnoc 10/08/13 - 01:51 pm
3
2
Richmond and Columbia County officials ever collaborate?

Sure ARC downtown raises taxes, pushes section 8's into middle class communities, the working Middle Class moves to Columbia Co. They buys land build houses and increases the Columbia Co. Net worth. Then the NEW Columbia county residents still working in ARC complain about the traffic and ARC builds several expressways and widens roads to Columbia Co.for them.

ARC's other export is crime and drugs.
Columbia Co. has not been good at developing its own Project communities and slum districts or run down industry areas.

jimmymac
42949
Points
jimmymac 10/08/13 - 01:49 pm
2
0
BASS PRO
Unpublished

Who needs Bass Pro? With Cabella's coming to the CSRA with Dicks and Sports Academy we don't need another sporting goods place. How about a IKEA or something like that who'll pull in people from all over to shop?

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