Tuesday, September 18, 2007

9/18 - finally hitting the map

Today was the opening of the Gander Mountain mega-sporting goods store up by the airport. (13075 City Square Drive Jacksonville , FL 32218 904-714-3557)

It's all Hunting & Fishing! No soccer, no Foosball, no 'street' games, thank goodness. But the GRAND OPENING is supposed to be on Sept 28th.

This is the 2nd one in our area. The first opened in St. Augustine. I think FINALLY after years and years of endless rumors that Bass Pro Shop is coming here to N.E. Florida, can now quietly go away. Until we have something actually going for us, that draws tourists here to J-ville, I don't think we were ever on their list of cities.
Look at most BPS locales, and you'll notice a trend, they're mostly at some kind of tourist destination, so it seems to me. Until then, they probably won't be coming here. I'd say they'll study the Gander Mountain's, and watch how they do.
Here's the news brief from the Jacksonville Business Journal:

Two Jacksonville area stores are among
Gander Mountain Co.'s 13 new locations in 2007.
The first location, at 550 Belz Outlet Blvd. in St. Augustine, had a grand opening May 19 and 20. The second, at the River City Market Place near Jacksonville International Airport, is one of nine locations nationwide expected to open in September or October.

St. Paul, Minn.-based Gander Mountain is the nation's largest retail network of stores for hunting, fishing, boating, camping, marine and outdoor lifestyle products and services. The St. Augustine location is the company's second in Florida. The first Florida location was Lake Mary in Central Florida. The new locations scheduled to open by the end of the year will bring the number of Gander Mountain locations to 115.
The other eight locations slated to open this fall are Waukesha, Wis.; Jackson, Tenn.; Rochester, Minn.; Lubbock, Texas; Evansville, Ind.; Hattiesburg, Miss.; Richmond, Va. and Bowling Green, Ky.
"It's great to move into new territories, but equally satisfying to continue to bring great outdoor experiences to our long-standing customers throughout the country," said president and CEO Mark Baker.


Either way, we finally have a mega super store here for fisherman and hunters. Although Gander Mountain isn't as lavish as a South Florida or Dallas, Texas Bass Pro Shop. In my opinion it will suffice, and I was impressed. This is the first time I've been to one. After hearing about the stores for many years.

I walked the isles and saw areas of products missing that I commonly use, such as VMC fish hooks. But hell, I give them a chance to expand. The rod racks had some empty spaces. And I'm sure that will change with time, as product comes in. The amount of reels was sufficient, but of course I'm a bit demanding for special purpose tackle, and didn't see a few of my favorites.

The new staff was very friendly...almost overly friendly.
Gander Mountain has it's own store brands. Just as Cabelas and BPS. And that's where the deals seem to be. Myself and a friend saw rods we'd use with our customers for Float-rigging, that seemed like a good value priced at a whopping $29.00! Xtra-Long, slender and a tad whippy perfect for a inexpensive Trout rod.

For $25 an hour, and a $50 minimum. I will help you shop for your tackle. Just as a Interior Designer shops and helps design the look of a house for a customer. ( My aunt is one...so I hear what she does for people) I've done it all, but count me out when it comes to Fly Fishing. From Offshore to Inshore, I have very good tastes. But it's your budget, and I can help.
From Internet deals, online line tackle shops, to places like Gander Mountain, I am a shopper and spend thousands of dollars a year on my own tackle. (always looking for better) I can also help with boats too. And from what I see it, a lot of people should have used my service. Don't be one of those people out at the jetties fishing a 6/0 Penn Senator rod and reel matching combo dropping to the bottom for Sheepshead!! Get the right stuff. I have the T.O.W (time on the water) to prove my tackle talents. Why is it acceptable for some one to help design a houses interior, but wrong to help someone pick the right boat or tackle? With big or small budgets, for the beginner wanting to get started. Just like charters are a good idea, to get the lay of the land, so to speak. All the while avoiding mistakes that cost.

.....Back to my Gander Mountain 3 hour shopping tour. (yes, 3 hrs. I studied this store.)

I also saw many items that are completely void on shelves of other J-ville fishing and hunting stores. Like the McGill-Wright (the Eagle Claw hook people) Blair Wiggins "Addictive Fishing" series rods. Pretty nice. Had some very nice features. Plus, I saw many other items I just don't get to buy off a shelf in this town, like the H&H tackle rattling floats I've been wanting to try. (AKA: the Almedena rattling float) used in Texas shallow water Trout and Red fishing. I bought 4, in two different sizes.

And as I was standing there looking at the rods, I looked up at a large flat screen TV hanging from the ceiling above the "fly fishing shop" and saw someone I recognized, ME!

Yeah, I did a double take! I saw myself up on the big screen TV catching, Reds.

They were running my videos up there on that screen. Wow, I remember when my Dad and I would go to BPS in Dania on the way to the Miami Boat Show and be walking around watching the videos on the numerous TV's there and we'd say, "Why can't our video's be up there playing? And for sale in those racks?"

So I called Dad to give him the news. Since he and I worked long and hard on putting together some non-commercialized, home town instructional videos, for a whole year. To get the two we marketed. And as I walked out of the store after checking out with the friendly gal at the register, I saw them!

There was 15 of my DVD's about fishing right here in the J-ville area in the rack, along with others. WOW, I called Dad back to tell him. Our hopes came true. WE have our DVDs in a big chain store. All of this is because of who we used as a duplicator and marketing company, Bennett Marine Video. My dad was wondering why the last royalty check he recieved was nice and fat. They're still selling!

And BTW, here's another story on those same lines. I was in B&M bait and tackle one day and an old acquittance walks in. He says, "hey Capt Dave, I saw your video's." I replied to him, "did ya buy some?" He said, "naw, a buddy ordered them on NETFLIX and we watched them."

NETFLIX?? Holy____ , I thought to myself. I guess Bennett Marine video, sold a bunch to NetFlix, and they're on the ordering list for subscribers now. That was GREAT news, too.

It's hard to discribe how good all that feels after how long it took two complete rookies to film and make two video's. So now the big question is, when am I gonna do one on local Float-rig fishing techniques? Believe me, it's in discussion.