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scheels in mankato to build new store!!!!!!!!!


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By Dan Nienaber

Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — Construction is expected to start soon on a fifth anchor at River Hills Mall: a two-story, 120,000-square-foot Scheels All Sports store.

Submitted graphic

A two-story Scheels All Sports store will be the fifth anchor at River Hills Mall. It will be the last anchor added to the mall, said Paul Wilke, River Hills general manager.

At that size, the store will be nearly five times the size of its current 25,000-square-foot store in the mall. It will be built between Herberger's and Sears, face Highway 14 and have a replica of a 60-foot-tall maple tree as its centerpiece.

Steve Scheel, chief executive officer and chairman of the board for the employee-owned company, said he expects the store to become a tourist attraction for the region. It will be the 12th store of its kind for Scheels, which has built similar stores in St. Cloud, Sioux Falls, S.D., and Appleton, Wis.

There will be more space for the store's current departments, as well as added space for a home decor section and a log-framed "general store" that will sell coffee, fudge, roasted nuts and wild game jerky.

A building permit application estimated the value of the new store's outer shell at $5 million. It's part of a two-phase project at the mall that will also bring a new store into the existing Scheels space, which will be expanded, said Paul Wilke, River Hills general manager. He estimated the total value of both projects could reach $15 million.

Construction on the new Scheels is expected to be finished in April of 2006, Scheel said. The current store will close a few weeks earlier, but construction for a new Barnes & Noble store that is expected to move into the existing Scheels space will start before that, he added.

Carolyn Brown, a spokeswoman at Barnes & Noble's corporate offices in New York City, said the company does not comment on its new locations until their is a signed lease. There is currently not a signed lease for the River Hills Mall location, she said.

Barnes & Noble is currently the anchor store at the nearby River Hills Place strip mall at 1859 Adams St.

When Scheels moved into its existing location at the River Hills Mall in 1994, the store was one of the company's largest at the time at 19,000 square feet, Wilke said. It has expanded twice since then, but is still one of the company's smaller stores now that it has started building larger locations.

He does expect the new Scheels to benefit the mall by drawing in tourists.

"This will obviously keep people from our trade area from going to Cabella's in Owatonna," Wilke said.

When Scheels opened its store in Madison East Center in 1969, it was the company's second store outside Fargo, N.D. It's first branch store was located in St. Cloud.

Gander Mountain, a direct competitor, recently moved into the Mankato market. There is even more competition for Scheels in St. Cloud and other larger retail markets from "big box" retailers such as Sportsmart.

Those factors did not drive the decision to expand here, Scheel said.

"We would have done this with or without the competition," he said. "We're looking at 15 to 20 to 25 years from now. We're building this thing for the future."

There will be between 160 and 180 part-time and full-time employees at the new Scheels store, which is about 50 percent more than the existing store has, Scheel said.

The main floor of the store will have footwear, apparel, golf equipment, fitness equipment and bikes. The second floor will be devoted to hunting, camping and fishing equipment as well as the new food and specialty products.

The trunk of the fake tree will be made from steel and concrete and the tree's leaves, which will have fall colors, will be made from silk. It's being designed by the same company that makes similar props for Disney, Scheel said.

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Wow! OH Boy, Scheels All Sports store is expanding. Do you really think that they will compete with Cabela's and Gander Mountain. It remains to be seen.

I cant wait untill its done so I can get some fudge and roasted nuts.

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And who drives this whole game? they all want a part of the dollar we spend on our toys. Its going to be nice to see who will be willing to give you the lowest price and how hard it will be to get it.

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I cant wait now! I always go to scheels in mankato now and its getting pretty packed full of stuff and its a bigger store for inside the mall.

From what that article described it will be set-up the same as the scheels in St.Cloud (only w/a big tree. The extra room will definitly be nice. grin.gif

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