Camping World Buys What’s Left Of Bankrupt Gander Mountain

Image courtesy of Nicholas Eckhart

Big-box sporting goods chain Gander Mountain has a new owner, and it’s not competitor Sportsman’s Paradise, as anticipated. Instead, the recreational vehicle dealer chain Camping World won the bidding, teaming up with liquidators Tiger Capital, Hilco, Great American Group, and Gordon Brothers to buy the brand, its stores, and its inventory.

As you might guess based on the involvement of four liquidators, the new owner does not plan to keep most of the chain’s stores running. Gander Mountain had 160 stores, and announced plans to close 32 of them when it announced the bankruptcy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the liquidators are primarily interested in the inventory of firearms and outdoor sports gear, while Camping World is primarily interested in the Gander Mountain brand and trademarks.

Camping World also gets the boating and watersports brand Overton’s, which will mesh nicely with its existing businesses. Camping World already sells camping and outdoors supplies alongside its lots full of RVs.

Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World and star of the CNBC program The Profit, told the WSJ that he committed to keeping 17 stores open, but could keep as many as 70 depending on concessions from landlords and other factors.

“My goal is to keep open as many stores as I possibly can that have a clear path to profitability,” he told the paper. “In my opinion the company had a real estate and inventory problem, not a people problem.”

In The Profit, Lemonis helps failing small businesses plan their turnarounds and identify problems with their business models and operations. He took over cupcakery Crumbs in 2014, for example.

In a statement, Camping World chief operating officer Brent Moody laid out the company’s plan for its new stores. Camping World will “immediately right size the inventory and operate only in retail locations with occupancy costs that we believe support profitable operations.”

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.