Bass Pro Shops may be the most anticipated new stores to launch in the metro area. Already a line of about 250 people has begun forming outside the store’s construction site. The store is expected to open in mid fall, leaving the potential for thousands to be waiting by launch.
A Bass Pro Shops location in Little Rock has been rumored since the late 80’s. The Springfield, MO company has always had interest in the Little Rock area, including a couple of failed attempts to launch a store in the metro. In the early 2000’s the store tried to open up a location in North Little Rock only to be denied a permit to build on wet lands.
Campers began showing up around a month ago, the very first were a retired couple from Benton. “We decided to drive up here and look at the construction one day. Next thing we knew we were pulling out lawn chairs and making ourselves at home,” the couple tells us.”We have been looking forward to this opening for years. We go visit the one in Springfield every year when we drive up to Branson to watch the Bald Knobbers.”
After the first couple showed up more and more began adding to the crowd every week. Campers have been visiting the truck stop next door to the construction site to buy food, use restroom facilities, and even shower.
“I am just glad they sell my Milwaukee’s Best next door, it has made this a great time,” one of the campers tells us. “I am hoping to get in to buy some new fishing lures for my girlfriend for Christmas, I want to make sure I get a good selection. This sort of feels like one of them fancy cell phone launches where people line up to buy it, only a lot better stuff.”
Bass Pro Shops representatives tell us that this is not normal to see large lines this far in advance of opening. “This is our 7th Bass Pro build now. Usually we see a couple of people lined up during our pre-launch walkthrough the day before opening, but nothing like this.” the site’s construction forman tells us.
We polled all of the campers to find their hometowns and we found the majority of the people were from Benton and Sheridan. Most say they are glad Bass Pro Shops chose this location instead of the proposed North Little Rock site. “I hate having to drive through that big city with all those crazy drivers. My pickup only goes 45 after all. Here I’ll probably come visit a couple of times a week,” another camper tells us.