Some may have camped out all night, but by the early pre-dawn hours of Saturday, April 9th, hundreds of people were already lined up awaiting the official grand opening gala at Sportsman's Warehouse in Soldotna. For store manager Steve McVey, it was a homecoming to the Kenai Peninsula. "I left in 1996 and have been working my way back ever since," said McVey who will manage both the Soldotna and Anchorage stores. According to McVey the grand opening crowd far exceeded his expectations. "It was a great day and we are very happy to be here, our crew did a great job getting this store ready for the opening and we are looking forward to a great summer," he said.
Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche and family were on hand to cut the official ribbon and offer a community welcome. "We are thrilled to have Sportsman's Warehouse here, they have rehabilitated the space nicely and it's great to see new life breathed into the Peninsula Center Mall. We welcome them to our great community of local retailers who support all our activities. Ninety four percent of everything we do as a city is funded with sales tax revenue, and Sportsman's Warehouse give another choice for folks to keep shopping locally and enriching our community," said Micciche.
According to the assistant manager, Jake Sherlock, Sportsman's Warehouse is starting out with 85 employees and will gear up as necessary for the summer months. The first 300 folks through the doors at Saturday's grand opening received $25 dollar gift cards and everyone who turned out got the chance at winning two $1,000 dollar shopping sprees. Additionally fly fishing seminars were held in the store throughout the day, which was filled with grand opening sale prices. Sportsman's warehouse has five stores in Alaska and elsewhere in the Northwest. Sherlock says the Soldotna store will focus on Alaska specific and made in Alaska items. "You will see a larger selection of items from local vendors and Alaska specific items here in the Soldotna store. We actually built this location around being able to offer more area here for those items and we're happy to do that," said Sherlock adding that they have already seen a lot of spring items leaving the store like canoes and kayaks. "Folks are getting an early start gathering their summer toys this year and I think that's what I like best about my job, I get to be surrounded all day long with the things I love," he said. Sportsman's Warehouse is open 9:00am - 9:00pm Monday-Saturday and 10:00am-7:00pm Sunday's until summer.
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