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More Gander Mountain closures likely as company is bought by reality TV star

Camper and RV retailer Camping World paid $37.8 million for the St. Paul company.

More closures of Gander Mountain stores are an almost-certainty now that the struggling retailer has been bought out.

The St. Paul-based outdoor retail chain filed for bankruptcy protection in March and shut down 32 of its stores – three of them in Minnesota – so it could keep trading while a buyer was found.

Camping World, the Illinois company owned by CNBC reality show star Marcus Lemonis, is the new owner after winning at an auction on Friday, buying Gander Mountain and its Overton's boating business for a combined $37.8 million, according to a company news release.

The purchase, which needs to be confirmed by the Minnesota bankruptcy court, will see Camping World take on a minimum of 17 store leases with options to keep others open.

Lemonis has made a TV career out of turning around struggling businesses for CNBC's The Profit, bringing his "Three P mantra" of people/process/product to businesses operating across various industries.

But comments made by the Camping World CEO suggest many of the store's remaining 160 stores are going to close.

In the company statement, Lemonis said the structure of the deal allows his company to "select only those stores which are profitable or we believe have a clear path to profitability."

He also tells the Wall Street Journal at least half of the 160 Gander Mountains probably won't survive.

Even those that stay open might have to deal with job cuts, with Lemonis saying the company has secured rights that allows it to "operate stores and retain employees at a number to maximize profitability."

There are nine remaining Gander Mountain stores in Minnesota: in Blaine, Forest Lake, Lakeville, Eden Prairie, St. Cloud, Bemidji, Duluth, Rochester and Baxter.

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