BRISTOL, Va. - Bass Pro Shop and Cabela's coming to town may be a good thing for outdoorsmen, but not for the smaller businesses. Many of these specialty shops sell the same or similar gear, putting them in a greater chance for competition.
"It's nice walking in a store where everybody knows your name and what you're coming in for," said Mahoney's customer Ben Cearlock.
Cearlock looks for the small town feel. "It's the friendships that keep you loyal and that's something the box shops can't offer," he explained.
Now that Cabela's and Bass Pro Shop are entering the area, it is starting to worry businesses like Mahoney's and Mountain Sports. "Well it worries any small business owner, but you know competition is not bad. Everybody's got competition," said Dan Mahoney, owner of Mahoney's.
However, Mahoney has a bigger problem with the situation; he says the incentives are what is upsetting. "It's time small businesses start taking a stand because the state seems to be giving everybody's tax money, including mine, to somebody else to come in and compete against small businesses in the area," said Mahoney.
Mahoney continued to add that he didn't blame the larger stores for taking the incentives, saying that he would take it too if it had been offered to him. But he feels it's unfair.
The owners of these small businesses are hoping that by having certain types of equipment in their stores, it will keep their customers coming back. "There are lots of things they sell that we don't sell and we'll be sending our customers there. Hopefully that'll be a two-way street and they'll be sending us customers as well," said Steve Cheers, owner of Mountain Sports.
Cheers says that he is going to try to look on the bright side. "I'm sure we'll lose some customers, but long-term I hope we can work together on a lot of cases," said Cheers.
Mahoney is not scared either. "If they can stand the competition of my business, bring 'em on."
Cheers told us that he has already been working on his marketing strategy to bring in more customers and does not think they will be affected too badly.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Bass Pro Shop is Friday at 10 a.m. at the site off Exit 74.
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