Bass Pro (Johnny Morris’ alter ego) is at it again. Around 50 years ago, Morris was a young aimless man with only one thing that inspired him; a love of bass fishing on southern Missouri man made lakes built by the Corps of Engineers to provide hydroelectric power to the area.
His Dad – the family still- owning the Brown Derby liquor store chain, ceded a significant amount of floorspace in several of the stores to his son and Morris stocked bait, fishing tackle and camping gear for people heading to the lakes who had stopped by to pick up a case or two of beer.
He made enough money in a few years to buy an old strip mall, where the defunct Robert Hall menswear store chain had recently closed a store (now the multiple city block location of the Bass Pro main office, ‘home’ retail store and wildlife museum) to start out, and surprising pretty much everyone in town who was acquainted with him, kept going from one success to the next until today, Bass Pro is a – maybe ‘the’ – dominating force in all facets of sports retail, fishing boats, resorts, golf courses etc., etc., etc.
A bit of little known history; When he bought the new location, he started selling ‘shares’ of his operation for $1000 a pop.
Being in my early 20s, I was too young, too impecunious and too leery of his known history to buy in. But a few people I knew had the excess cash to give him a shot. As I understand it, Morris bought back all the shares, at steadily increasing prices for those who were reluctant to sell out, until he finally bought back all of them by the late 80s.
Sportsman’s Warehouse to join The Great American Outdoors Group
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. and WEST JORDAN, Utah, Dec. 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In an effort to better serve its loyal customers, Sportsman’s Warehouse has entered into a definitive agreement to join the Great American Outdoors Group, parent company of Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, White River Marine Group and a collection of nature-based resorts. The Great American Outdoors Group will remain a private company with a long-term view to do what is best for its customers, team members and conservation initiatives. As part of the agreement, Sportsman’s Warehouse will be acquired for $18.00 per share in cash.
The driving force behind the partnership is the two companies’ similar histories and highly complementary business philosophies and geographic footprints. Both entities share a passion with their customers for fishing, camping, hunting, boating and other outdoor activities. Likewise, both are highly acclaimed retailers with well-deserved reputations for a broad offering of outstanding brand name and proprietary products, superior customer service, deeply knowledgeable team members and an unwavering passion for conservation. Uniting together represents an unprecedented “win-win” opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts.
“We are excited to be joining the Great American Outdoors Group. This merger brings together the greatest brands in the outdoor industry. As we look to the future, the combined entities provide our passionate associates with greater opportunities to serve the outdoor enthusiast. I couldn’t be more proud of the nearly 8,000 Sportsman’s Warehouse associates and their success in building our brand over the last 33 years. We look forward to a smooth transition and building our partnership,” said Sportsman’s Warehouse CEO Jon Barker.
“Today is a happy day for our companies, outdoor enthusiasts and for the cause of conservation,” said Bass Pro Shops Founder and Great American Outdoors Group Leader, Johnny Morris. “As outdoor sports specialists with unwavering dedication to people who fish, hunt and enjoy the outdoors, we greatly admire the passionate team at Sportsman’s Warehouse for their commitment to their customers and the sports we all love. By combining our best practices, our aim is to give our customers a best-of-the-best experience while further uniting them to support conservation,” added Morris.