POCATELLO — A large chain sporting goods retailer has filed for a permit to renovate the vacant former Sportsman’s Warehouse building in order to open a local store.
Dick’s Sporting Goods intends to invest $2.725 million in the renovation of the roughly 50,000-square-foot building, according to the building permit corporate officials filed with the city on Monday.
City officials expect work on the project to commence immediately but are uncertain as to when the store might open.
Dick’s has more than 300 locations nationwide, including an expansive store in the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City and Idaho location in Meridian.
“I think there is a market for that kind of a sporting goods retailer in Pocatello,” said Robert Chambers, Pocatello’s director of planning and development services. “I think it will add to the mix and give shoppers another reason to stay local.”
Sportsman’s Warehouse, based in Midvale, Utah, opened at 1844 Hurley Drive in November 2006. The store closed in the spring of 2009, along with 22 other Sportsman’s Warehouse stores so the owner could reduce his debt. The Pocatello Sportsman’s Warehouse was profitable before it closed, the company’s chairman and CEO Stu Utgaard previously told the Journal.
“The banks have taken $120 million in cash away from us in the last 120 days. We find ourselves in the position of having to liquidate a perfectly store with perfectly good employees,” Utgaard said prior to the closing.
Lynn Transtrum, the city’s building official, said the renovations planned by Dick’s include replacing the store front and canopy to match the chain’s prototype, remodeling the mezzanine entry and moving the restrooms to a different portion of the building.
Transtrum said city officials have already met with representatives from the contractor chosen for the project, Robertson & Olson based in Vancouver, Wash.
“We’re tickled to see another sporting goods store in Pocatello,” Transtrum said. “I think everybody in town, at least the sportsmen, felt really bad when the last one ran into its hardships.”
According to the company’s website, Dick’s was started in 1948 by 18-year-old Dick Stack of Binghamton, New York. His grandmother gave him $300 and urged him to follow his dreams of opening a store. Dick opened a small bait and tackle shop and expanded his product line to include more sporting goods in 1958.
“It’s a great asset to the community,” said Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad, adding he’s heard rumors about the company locating here for a while. “That fills a big void in the community with the Sportsman’s Warehouse being gone.”
The arrival of the new store will bring new competition to existing outdoor retailers including Paul and Stacie Gebo, owners of the new Snake River Outdoor Sports, 222 S. Fifth St.
Paul Gebo notes the new Dick’s store will fill the void that will be opened by the closure of The Sports Authority, 625 Yellowstone Ave.
“We’ve known about it for some time,” Paul Gebo said about the news of the Dick’s store locating near his new business. “We’re always bracing ourselves for competition because competition makes you better.”
Business has been strong so far at the new store, Paul Gebo said. He said Snake River Outdoor Sports recently opened an indoor archery range and continues to expand its hunting and fishing offerings.
Paul Gebo noted his store carries “a lot of lines that are extremely relevant to the outdoor community” that won’t be offered at Dick’s. He believes there’s room in the market for both businesses.
“I think we’re going to do just fine. Price wise, we’ll be more than competitive with Dick’s,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can think of to be ready.”