MARION — Drive by the old Gander Mountain store in Marion, and there are signs of hope. A couple pieces of equipment and a car or two are in the parking lot.
In May 2017, Gander Mountain put up “going out of business” signs after the company filed for bankruptcy and was sold to Camping World. Although Camping World issued a statement saying the Marion store would remain open, the store closed in August.
Marion Mayor Anthony Rinella said Camping World is still coming.
"They plan to open March 2019," he said.
Rinella said Lowell Anderson of Anderson’s Warehouse Furniture has purchased the Sears building on the west end of the Illinois Star Centre Mall.
Anderson’s Warehouse Furniture in Pittsburg was destroyed by fire on June 30. The business had been an anchor in the small Williamson County community since Bill Anderson opened it in 1970. His son and daughter-in-law, Lowell and Michelle, took over operations in 2001 and opened a second location in Herrin. The business has operated out of the Herrin location since the fire.
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He added that there are several deals on the table with businesses looking at opening in Marion.
Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers opened Dec. 18 at 2700 W. DeYoung St. The Marion Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting for the restaurant at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 11.
Lavish Bath Box opened at 605 Tower Square Plaza on the Marion square on Dec. 12.
“Bath and Body Works decided not to relocate in Marion (from the mall), so we got Lavish,” Rinella said.
Bath and Body Works was among the tenants still operating inside the Illinois Star Centre Mall, which is set to close. A judge last month ruled that the mall's owners could begin terminating leases with tenants, but a closure date for the mall has not yet been set.
Lavish specializes in handmade bath and body products.
618 Tap House, a pub and bar, opened in November at 2703 17th St. It has a full menu of food, along with 31 draft beers — including local selections, mixed drinks, wine and bourbon.
Rinella expects some growth around planned road projects, too. A new road project recently completed at halfway road, and several others are in the works.
Rinella said more information will become available after some business deals are finalized.