Having lived in Las Vegas for 14 years, I thought I had seen most of the area’s extraordinary things. But Friday, I saw what to me was an extraordinary store, the Bass Pro Shops store at the Silverton Casino & Lodge.
I am late to the Bass Pro Shops game, even though the stores were founded in Missouri and I grew up in Missouri. Apparently hand-made bait and worms for sale in the back of a Springfield, MO liquor store were so successful among the local fishermen (and women), that Bass Pro Shops were incorporated 1971. In 1974 the first Bass Pro Shops catalog was issued and soon became the country’s leading sporting goods mail order site. The first Bass Pro Shops store opened in 1988.
Today, Bass Pro Shops has a network of some 94 stores in the U.S. and Canada. The two-story Las Vegas store is called a “sportsman’s paradise” with 165,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 40,000 gallon freshwater aquarium fed by a canyon waterfall and tableaus of wild animals in various natural settings. (I read online that the animals have all been donated to the stores, most from museums that no longer display such animals.)
I decided to visit my local store after seeing a TV show noting that Santa would be appearing at many of the Bass Pro Shops stores.
However, as it turned out, Santa was the least of the attractions to me. The decor and the vastness of my local store were such surprises I was in awe. Also, I was impressed with the Black Friday crowds who had come early, found their bargains and were willing to wait in tremendously long lines to check out. Is retail dead? Not that I noticed.
I wandered the store with my camera and was constantly surprised at the wealth of available products. I imagined some families could cover their entire Christmas list at this one store, and I noted all ages were in the store Friday. I saw everything from jackets, sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, jewelry, fishing rods, guns, toys and snacks to a Santa’s workshop, a kids build your own mound activity, archery equipment, pool floats, boats, guns, rifles and MORE snacks. (Outdoor activities must also mean constant hunger.)
Whew! After walking the store, I was a bit tired, but also exhilarated. I may be the last person in the Las Vegas valley who hadn’t visited a Bass Pro Shops store, but if I am not the last….I do recommend a visit. You’ll look up and down and all around. And during the next four weeks, you might even get a photo with Santa!