Editor’s note: This story corrects incorrect information about the amount of money given on gift certificates to the first 100 people in line. We regret the error.
NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – It was the grandest of openings Wednesday night at the Eastwood Mall complex in Niles. Bass Pro Shops opened its 172nd store and 500 people showed up to welcome it.
When we arrived 45 minutes before the 6 p.m. ribbon cutting, 200 people were already waiting to get into the new store. Corbin Hartill of Leavittsburg was first in line, arriving at 3.
“Because we love hunting and fishing, so my fiance wanted to come and get in line,” Hartill said.
As country western singer Chris Higbee entertained, Bass Pro Shops employees threw swag — hats, T-shirts and frisbees — into the crowd that eventually swelled to 500.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony began with a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.
It was highlighted by a speech from Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, whose name is on the sign.
“I just want to say thank you to every craftsman, woman, every artist, every talented person that worked on this. They worked to make this store your store, and it’s very unique to this region,” Morris said.
After the ribbon was cut, people entered the store, many going first to see the aquarium, which is part of every Bass Pro Shops store.
The opening adds to the continued growth of the Cafaro Company’s Eastwood Mall complex.
“You know what, it’s possible because of the support of the community. The folks have responded. We’ve tried to do things that the people really want and are seeking. There’s always something new happening here at Eastwood Mall,” said mall co-president Anthony Cafaro, Jr.
“This is normal for us at Bass Pro,” said Bass Pro Shops general manager Bruce Miller.
The company didn’t go far to find its general manager. Miller is from Campbell.
“We are absolutely excited to bring this legendary, iconic brand of Bass Pro by our founder, Johnny Morris, to this great area, Niles, Ohio. Born and raised here. This is the pinnacle for me,” Miller said.
The first 100 people into Bass Pro Shops on Thursday morning will receive gift certificates ranging from $5 to $500. The store opens at 9 a.m. Like Wednesday night, a long line to get in is expected.