The south Georgia city of Valdosta (population: about 48,000) is known for a number of things.

Its airport has one of the longest runways in the Peach State. It was home to the composer of “Jingle Bells,” and gunslinger Doc Holliday spent part of his childhood there, too. (His father even served as mayor.) The Valdosta Wildcats have won more games than any other high school football team in the nation. Hence, the nickname “Winnersville.”

And it will soon be home to Gander Mountain’s new prototype store — which will be developed, designed and built by Minnetonka-based Opus Development Corp.

The 52,000-square-foot store features “greatly enhanced interior elements, innovative displays and fixtures, and a much broader selection of apparel and merchandise,” said Jess Myers, spokesman for the St. Paul-based retailer, which sells hunting, fishing, camping and marine products.

Translation: It’s warmer and features an open floor plan, he noted.

The Georgia store should be completed later this year and will be replicated as the privately held Gander Mountain expands.

This will be the 115th store for Gander Mountain, which is currently in 23 states. (Valdosta will be the first store in Georgia.) That, of course, includes 11 stores in its home state of Minnesota.

Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.

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