180105_GANDER

The new Janesville Gander Outdoors store, originally slated to open by May, opened Wednesday and has a grand opening Saturday at 2900 Deerfield Drive in the Pine Tree Plaza on Janesville’s northeast side.

Anthony Wahl

JANESVILLE

Gander Outdoors has opened its new Janesville store on Deerfield Drive a few months sooner than its owner’s CEO had estimated.

The store is now open, according to company Twitter posts Wednesday, and will have an official grand opening at 9 a.m. Saturday at 2900 Deerfield Drive.

Camping World CEO and celebrity investor Marcus Lemonis said earlier this month that most of the Gander Outdoor stores, 11 of which are in Wisconsin, would all be open by May.

At the time, he said some store openings might happen sooner or later than May, depending on the transfer of inventory.

There’s been evidence that the local Gander Outdoors store in the Pine Tree Plaza—formerly Gander Mountain—was ramping up toward opening. In recent days, the store has had its bright blue sign illuminated at night, even though it hadn’t yet opened.

Until Wednesday’s news release and statements on Twitter, Camping World officials had not commented on an exact opening date for the Janesville store.

Camping World, which owns Gander Outdoors, bought Gander Mountain out of bankruptcy in 2017. It closed the bulk of Gander Mountain’s stores nationwide and rebranded many of them as Gander Outdoors.

Camping World confirmed Wednesday that the Janesville store will occupy the 33,000-square-foot former Gander Mountain space at Pine Tree Plaza and will employ 55 part-time and full-time staff.

Lemonis earlier this month said Gander Outdoors will have “three distinct” areas in each store: a hunting and shooting products area under the former Gander Mountain “Legend” brand; a boating supply area; and a camping, hiking, biking and sporting-goods section that also will sell products as diverse as paddleboarding equipment and skateboards.

The Janesville store’s grand opening includes youth activities and gift card giveaways, according to the release.

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