Bass Pro Shops Comes to the Valley

October 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
An outdoor store city leaders once thought could be the key to revitalizing downtown Fresno will soon open in the north valley.Carpenters and electricians are working alongside sculptors and painters to prepare Manteca's new Bass Pro Shops for opening day.

General Manager Dan Dugger said, "Bass Pro is more of a visual experience, when you walk in there's something to do, everywhere you look it's a beautiful scene."

Each of Bass Pro's 50 outdoor sports stores have a specific theme that reflects the surrounding community. This 120 thousand square foot building centers around the beauty of Yosemite National Park with a massive mural of half dome and cascading waterfalls. And that's not all ...

The store has 2 freshwater aquariums, including this 20 thousand gallon tank that will be filled with native fish species when the store opens.

Its features like these and family activities like this laser arcade that are expected to lure in millions of people each year.

Promotions Manager Larry Liedelmeyer said, "We may have people come from as far south as the Fresno, Bakersfield area, as far north as the Chico area and along the coast, and maybe even Reno, Nevada area."

Some people even plan their vacations around Bass Pro destinations. The company says last year its stores had six times more visitors than Disney World! That's why Fresno had hoped the store could anchor a major downtown revitalization project back in 2005. And that's why Manteca city leaders are celebrating their big catch.

Manteca City Manager Steve Pinkerton said, "As an anchor for a shopping center, they're going to bring a lot of other services in surrounding Bass Pro that will help the city as well, not just from a revenue standpoint, but amenities for the community."

The city says it was chosen as a bass pro site because it's centrally located between the valley and the bay area.

Pinkerton said, "We've got 15 million people within a reasonable 2 hour drive of this area, so I think that within that region, I think we had the best location."

This store will hold its grand opening on October 15th, and the company is also working on sites in Bakersfield and Sacramento. So for now other valley cities may have to "go fish" for another big name retailer.

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