SPRINGFIELD, MO./LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- You might call it a piece of heaven for an outdoors fan. And with a Bass Pro Shops now officially coming to Little Rock, we're taking a closer look at what's ahead for us.
THV's Max Seigle traveled to Springfield, Missouri to visit the flagship store for Bass Pro Shops. We decided to take a trip up there after reporting the news last month that Little Rock will getting one of these stores late next year. In this THV Extra, we'll go inside and give you a look the company's first store and show you what Little Rock can expect.
Every year, four million people walk through this Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri. It's a monster of a store with 250,000 gallons of water running through displays, an alligator soaking some of it in and who can forget about all that shopping.
"First thing we checked out when we came in were the boats, the party barges and stuff like that," Shopper Calvin Barnes said.
We found Calvin Barnes and his family from Center Ridge, Arkansas on our visit to Missouri's number one tourist attraction.
"Adam, here's your decoy," Barnes says to his son while shopping in the store.
Moving on to the hunting aisle, Barnes says this place has just what his family digs.
"Just a wide selection of anything you want to hunt or fish with, so that's what really draws us in," Barnes said.
"Oh yes, this is a big area for Arkansas, they love coming up here," Larry Whiteley said.
Larry Whiteley is the Communications Manager for Bass Pro Shops. It's a place he says is popular with Arkansans and one now heading our way.
"We've been looking forward to it for about seven, eight years now, having a store down there," Whiteley said.
Whiteley says Little Rock will have all the retail that's here in Springfield.
"We got everything from spinner baits and crank baits just for the bass and then we've got crappie and we got walleye and we got even saltwater fish in some of the departments," Whiteley said.
There are plenty of rods and tackle boxes too. We also found a show room of boats, kayaks and canoes, camping gear, hunting rifles and archery. There is even golf, grills and fashions for everyone.
The aquariums are some of the big hits at the Springfield store. We are going to have aquariums at the Little Rock store but not exactly the type of fish that are here.
"Fish that are native species to that area of the country and like we did here and at our other stores, we sent people down underwater filming, taking pictures, say of a famous lake in Little Rock, they will take pictures of that and recreate that as the aquarium in the store," Whiteley said.
Along with the fish and game, Whiteley says the whole store in general will reflect Arkansas, down to the pictures on the wall.
"Looking for that certain picture, picture of Grandpa from the 1800's with a big buck deer or Grandma with a big catfish from 1912 or whatever and we take those pictures and blow them up real big and put them up as part of the decorations of that store," Whiteley said.
It's creating an Arkansas experience with ongoing freebies, like outdoor educational programs.
"Whether its tying on flies, fly casting, cooking with a Dutch oven, we do all that stuff during the week too, so there's something going on all the time in our stores," Whiteley said.
"We were real excited to hear that, I mean it will be a lot closer drive for us and you know to have something like this in Arkansas will be a big bonus, it will be really great," Barnes said.
It's a bonus for this family and many more, coming to our home turf from the "Granddaddy" of them all.
The Southwest Little Rock store will be located off Interstate 30 near the Otter Creek Exit. Construction is set to begin later this summer with a target to open by next year's holiday shopping season.