— Ed Fletcher (@NewsFletch) January 5, 2018
I have a pet peeve that whenever I travel with friends and family that whenever possible I’d rather avoid chain stores, restaurants and other retail outlets. Sure, sometimes it’s hard to avoid, especially here at home. But it’s nice to check out someplace local whenever possible.
Which brings us to a sad story coming out of Orangvale, a Sacramento suburb. In an outdoor retail world where giants like Bass Pro Shops make it difficult for the mom and pop stores to survive, the Sacramento Bee reported that a local fishing and hunting institution will shut its doors.
Here’s Bee reporter Chuck Fletcher with more:
Few businesses are as synonymous with their community as Wild Sports is to Orangevale, but after four decades of selling guns and fishing gear to northeast Sacramento County hunters and anglers, the retailer says it is closing.
“Store closing: huge sale,” screamed the yellow banner hanging outside the nondescript building this week.
Prominently situated at the intersection of Greenback Lane and Main Avenue, Wild Sports is one of the few retail stores outside of tire shops in Orangevale, a semi-rural suburban community of 34,000 people.
The store has been liquidating merchandise for weeks. Earlier this week, half a dozen patrons combed the 12,000-square-foot store, ringed with mounted animal trophies, for deals. Much of the remaining boots, gloves, scopes and outdoor gear was marked down by 30 to 40 percent. It’s not clear when the last day will come.
No comment” was the official word from a man in the back store room, who did not come out.
Wild Sports was big box sporting retail before the category existed.
“They were kind of an institution,” said Gary Voet, a former Sacramento Bee outdoors columnist. “The only place if you wanted to get any fishing-related stuff near Folsom was Wild Sports.”
As the news broke online, Orangevale residents expressed sadness that a community fixture would be leaving.
“Wild Sports was one of the last neighborhood outdoor sporting goods stores around. I shopped there all the time, and the fishing guys there were always super helpful,” said Hank Shaw, an award-winning outdoors author who lives in Orangevale.
Why the owners, listed in legal documents as Fligge Fligge Fligge, have chosen to close their business now is left to speculation with the owner declining to discuss. New gun laws and competition from online retailers are common theories.
Whatever the reason, it’s tough to see a local outdoors community’s beating heart taken off life support.