The Sportsman's Warehouse store is under construction at the Delta Center between Highway 62 and the Medford airport. - file photo

Sporting goods megastore will open in fall

After years of planning and waiting, Stu Utgaard will soon see one of his Sportsman's Warehouse stores in Southern Oregon.

The 45,200-square-foot store, scheduled to open Nov. 17, has shot up quickly in recent weeks at the Delta Center, located between Crater Lake Highway and the Medford airport.

It's none to soon for Utgaard, a Utah entrepreneur whose fast-growing national chain carries virtually everything an outdoorsman could covet.

"It's taken us six years since we first applied," Utgaard said. "We were on store No. 7 back then, we're up to 61 now, and by the time we open, there will be like 65 that have opened in that time. Once we get permitted, we go up pretty fast."

Sportsman's Warehouse is opening stores in Michigan, Arkansas, Montana, Idaho and Virginia as well as Medford smack in the middle of the Christmas shopping season, just when many people will be looking for a special something to give their favorite hunter, hiker or fisherman.

"It's going to be a good store, I'm confident of that," said Utgaard, reached Monday in between shots during a round of golf.

While the long-awaited store has gone up rapidly this summer, a proposed Best Buy pulled out of the development and chose another Medford location.

"It doesn't matter," Utgaard says. "I'll have more parking, which my customers appreciate. It's a good location. ODOT has changed the traffic flow and I think we're just fine there."

The store is expected to hire between 70 and 75 people. Interviews are scheduled to take place at the SpringHill Suites in Medford on Oct. 6-7.

Dustin Grant has been named store manager. He's worked for Sportsman's Warehouse in St. Cloud, Minn.; Lewisville, Texas; Aurora, Colo.; and Federal Way, Wash.

There are already Sportsman's Warehouse stores in Salem, Portland and Bend. The lengthy wait for the Medford store has served to whet the appetites of outdoor enthusiasts familiar with other stores in the chain, which features hunting, fishing, and camping gear, as well as outerwear, footwear and gift bar departments with regional flavors.

"Our Oregon and Washington stores look pretty much the same in merchandise mix," Utgaard says. "They all vary a little, but they have the standard big-box footprints and entries."

A store's grand opening usually generates a lot of buzz, said Lonnie Stout, the managing editor of Sportsman's News, the chain's official publication. Stout has attended many of the company's openings.

"I talked to a man who was coming out of the Phoenix store with 10 sacks piled as high as he could get them on a shopping cart," Stout says. "He told me 'I'll probably get divorced because of this; I don't know how I'm going to get all of this past my wife.' "

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

Share This Story