Outdoor sports store owner plans move into own building
After 27 years of renting the storefronts, most recently at 507 30 Road, longtime local sporting goods store Jerry’s Outdoors Sports is moving into a roomier location.
It’s likely customers won’t get confused, though. The store’s new location is within sight of the current site, just across the way on the Interstate 70 Business Loop.
“That’s the beauty of it, the logistics,” store owner Jerry Stehman said. “There’s no getting people trained — it’s just right there.”
Stehman has had his eye on the building across the road, 2999 North Ave., for about five years but waited for the price to drop. The facility has housed a couple of different furniture stores over the years.
Stehman currently operates out of 4,600 square feet. The new store, which is expected to be open by the end of August, is more than double that size, 10,800 square feet.
The exterior of the building will receive a facelift, with Stehman planning to remove the “circus tent” facade and replace it with stucco and stone. He’s also planning improvements for the interior, including an expanded gun department and possibly an in-house gunsmith. He may also add a section of the store to build assault rifles. He expects to double his staff, hiring four or five more employees.
“It’s going to be kind of higher, wider and deeper than what we normally do,” he said of future operations.
Business continues to be healthy, Stehman said, even with the addition of new outdoor stores in Grand Junction such as Cabela’s, which opened in 2010. A similar trend occurred when Sportsman’s Warehouse opened, Stehman said, with sales dipping for about a year as customers tried out the experience of shopping at the larger spots before returning to his store. Stehman said sales at his store are up roughly 50 percent over this time last year.
“I try to have guys who are experienced and knowledgeable in what they’re selling,” he said. “Sometimes in a bigger atmosphere you don’t get the personal experience.”
Stehman also plans to convert all the store’s files to a digital format and work on a computerized system. That transition will be difficult for him, he said, but it’s not something customers are likely to notice. Customers also shouldn’t notice the overall switch to the new store. In fact, Stehman said he’s been pleasantly surprised by the numbers of customers who seem excited about the store’s new location.
“You never know how people are going to react to it,” he said.