Workers in the dark over future of three metro Detroit stores

Posted at 6:24 AM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 09:54:11-04

Jobs are hanging in the wind at multiple metro Detroit businesses following new developments in connection with the Gander Mountain bankruptcy.

The company known for selling hunting, fishing and camping gear announced bankruptcy earlier this year. Conflicting announcements have emerged since.

Initially it was said that every Gander Mountain location was shutting its doors, now the man who purchased a number of the company’s assets during an April auction has said he plans to keep some stores open.

A liquidator recently took control of more than 150 Gander Mountain stores nationwide and began selling off products at a deep discount inside retail stores. The company’s website is also offering similar sales.

Marcus Lemonis, the celebrity businessman who takes control of Gander Mountain assets later this month, has since stated that he plans to keep roughly 70 stores open.

In an interesting twist, Lemonis has been keeping a running list of locations he plans to keep open on Twitter. The list has been growing daily, and now lists a handful of Michigan locations that were originally assumed ready for closure.

Of the roughly dozen stores currently located in Michigan, he’s listed six that will remain open, however, stores in Utica, Novi and Taylor remain unknowns.

Workers, and interested shoppers, have been requesting updates from Lemons at their stores of preference over the past 72 hours. In fact, one person who asked specifically about metro Detroit stores drew a response from Lemonis who responded online saying its, “too early to say” whether any of the area stores will remain open.

He has listed Flint, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Marquette, Saginaw and Traverse City as locations he plans to keep open in Michigan. As noted, he has stated plans to keep roughly 70 stores open. Nearly 100 stores are still awaiting news whether they’ll remain open, and more than 60 stores have already been listed on his list of stores he plans to keep open.

“I was shocked,” said Dave Glefke, who has shopped at the store in Utica for years. “That’s the way everything seems to be going. It’s all mail order, and internet. What are you going to do?”

Gander Mountain is hardly the only big box retailer that has hit hard times.

In the past calendar year Macy’s has said they plan to close 100 stores. Sears continues to shutter both Sears and K-Mart brand stores, and JC Penny has announced a large number of closures including a handful in Michigan.

“Online shopping is awesome,” said Jodi Schook, who showed up at the Utica Gander Mountain looking for deep discounts following the liquidation sale announcement.

Asked what she thought about the possible closing, she noted that deals are on her mind: “Deals, I love deals. I don’t buy anything full price is I don’t have to. I’m looking for rubber boots, some fishing gear and maybe some ice fishing stuff that’s left over from the season.”