As the Tribune-Herald reported Saturday, Gander Mountain has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and has included its Waco store at Interstate 35 and South Valley Mills Drive on its list of underperforming stores that will close in the near future.

That means the number of local options for buying fishing, hunting and outdoors supplies is dwindling. And it makes even more interesting Bass Pro Shops’ proposed acquisition of Cabela’s for between $4.5 billion and $5.5 billion. Cabela’s operates one of its smaller “outpost” stores at Central Texas Marketplace, and whether the deal with Bass Pro Shops will produce closings among the Cabela’s-branded locales remains fodder for speculation.

Also, reports are surfacing that the buyout has bogged down at the regulatory level. The Federal Trade Commission has said it fears that combining Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops would come perilously close to creating a monopoly. It has issued a second request to review the proposed transaction, according to recent reports by Fox Business online and

Says the blog site, “To throw an additional wrench in the completion of the purchase of Cabela’s by Bass Pro Shops, Capital One is separately buying the Cabela’s line of credit cards. That was and is still a huge moneymaker for Cabela’s but adds more complexity to the sale of their company.”

Some observers are saying the deal will attract even more scrutiny now that Gander Mountain has filed for bankruptcy protection and its future in outdoors retailing has become clouded.

Several people Friday told me they were not shocked Gander Mountain chose to shutter the Waco store, saying the employees outnumbered the shoppers on the occasions they visited.

The problems at Gander Mountain apparently were not shared by other entities doing business at South Valley Mills Drive and the I-35 frontage road. Managers at Zoe’s Kitchen and Bubba’s 33, two restaurants near the outdoors store, said their traffic volume is great and they have no complaints.

Chili’s relocated from Parkdale shopping center at Bosque Boulevard and Valley Mills Drive to the Gander Mountain-anchored center because of the potential seen in that site.

‘Signature’ events

The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce is pursuing volunteers to assist with carrying out several “signature” events this year.

In a letter to chamber members, Amanda Haygood said the events “play a vital role in supporting the chamber’s efforts to market our community as part of our economic development efforts.”

Those wishing to assist are asked to call Haygood at 757-5611.

The following is a rundown of chamber-sponsored events:

  • The Texas Food Truck Showdown, April 1.
  • Allen Samuels Chamber Classic, May 5.
  • Starburst Junior Golf Classic, June 12-14.
  • TriWaco Triathlon, July 23.
  • George’s Big O Cup Tournament, Sept. 15.

Women’s forum

A financial forum for women is scheduled Thursday at Ridgewood Country Club, and reservations are being taken.

Elisa Rainey, a certified elder care attorney, will serve as guest speaker at the luncheon, which will last from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost to attend is $10, which includes lunch, and people wanting to attend should call 772-4901, according to a news release from the local accounting firm of Pattillo, Brown & Hill, the event sponsor.

Rainey’s topic is “Estate and Long Term Care Planning.” After her talk, Jennifer Cromwell, owner of Formela, The Beauty Boutique, will discuss choosing the right skin care.

Local credit improving

Apparently residents of Greater Waco are doing a better job of getting their financial houses in order.

A report by reveals that the Waco-Temple-Bryan metropolitan area showed the 18th-best improvement in credit score among 200 cities nationwide between 2010 and 2016.

The average credit score in Waco increased at a rate three times the national average, rising from 646 to 656 during that time period. That’s an increase of 1.6 percent, according to the study.

“Payment delinquencies fell by 6.24 percent over that six-year period,” according to the report, prepared using credit score data. “The drop can be one reason why scores changed as they did.”

Las Vegas, Nevada, experienced the greatest improvement in credit scores, seeing a 3 percent jump, from 626 to 645.

The report said many communities that saw an increase still have average credit scores below the national average of 670.

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