Those heading to the Cranberry Field & Stream to buy new hunting gear will find closed signs in the windows and the letters removed from the marquee.
In November, Dick's Sporting Goods CEO and board chairman Edward Stack announced that the company was looking to move away from hunting and firearms and focus more on other activities for the outdoors.
“As we look to exit out of the field and stream business and the firearm business, one of the places where we think there is a great opportunity is the outdoors,” Stack said during a conference call.
“We think this is a really big concept — an outdoor concept called Public Lands that we will be opening two stores in this next year,” Stack said.
One of the new Public Lands stores will replace the Field & Stream store that has been in the Cranberry square since 2013. Stack said Dick's plans to open two Public Lands in 2021. The other will be in Columbus. He estimated that one would open in August and the other in October.
Ron Henshaw, director for planning and development services in Cranberry Township, said Dick's obtained an interior alteration permit for the location in mid-February and renovations have begun.
“It's definitely a renovation and rebranding,”Henshaw said. “They're not closing permanently.”
While Field & Stream boasted extensive hunting and fishing sections, Public Lands will not, instead catering more toward adventure activities.
“We're going to focus on exactly what the name of the concept is, which is Public Lands; we think it's important to protect our public lands to protect the environment and this concept will really be focused on that,” Stack said.
“We think there's a real opportunity from people getting outdoors — camp, hike, bike, kayaking, fishing,” he said.
With the loss of Field & Stream, local hunter Steve Loder said it might become more difficult to buy supplies come hunting season.
“It's really going to impact the local economy,” said Loder, of Ellwood City. “There's a small little number of retail stores around Butler County. There's a couple in Ellwood City. Some of these other small gun shops that sell hunting and fishing supplies may not make it either.”
Butler Eagle staff writer Eddie Trizzino contributed to this report.