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Cotati building will allow consolidation, more show space

[caption id="attachment_17698" align="alignright" width="313" caption="Outdoor Pro Shop's new building in Cotati."][/caption]

COTATI -- After 17 years in the same Rohnert Park location, sportfishing retailer Outdoor Pro Shop plans to pick up four times as much sales space and consolidate three Sonoma County locations in a move to a 24,000-square-foot building in Cotati at the end of this month.

For the past several months, Outdoor Pro Shop has been preparing the Cotati building, located at 412 Houser St., for 21,000 square feet of retail space plus room for inventory and fulfillment of orders from its Internet sales business, MonsterFishingTackle.com, according to co-owner Ken Elie.

"The point we reached now is that we can't add new products because we do not have enough space," he said. "The new space will have the latest and greatest in tackle for all the species we cover."

The family-owned company has spent "millions of dollars" acquiring and outfitting the building. U.S. Small Business Administration financing to purchase the building from developer Werner Nase was secured via Summit State Bank.

The e-commerce business has been operating out of Petaluma because of a lack of space, as has an inventory warehouse elsewhere in Rohnert Park. The company, which has 22 people in all four locations, expects to add a few more people in the new location.

The Rohnert Park store and a 6,000-square-foot store opened in Oakland six years ago carry equipment such as rods, reels and pontoon boats as well as tackle for hundreds of fish species inhabiting coastal waters from Baja to Alaska. The stores are so small that they can only display one boat in the store at a time, with any others having to be referenced and ordered from a catalog.

The new store will have room not only for more boats and other items on display and but also for better organization of existing items. Rather than related items such as hooks and lures being in several locations of the store, as with the current building, they can be displayed together.

"It's only one-third of a mile from where we are, but it's a whole different world," Mr. Elie said.

Having a location with freeway visibility will help pull in business from anglers traveling Highway 101 for locations up the West Coast.

The additional space also is snagging marketing dividends. When a Southern California retailer declined to hold a bass fishing trade show this year, Ken and Debbie Elie create Bass Jam, which attracted 3,000 to 4,000 people and 78 vendors to fill 80 available booths in December.

And marketing muscle is needed with the loss of 35 percent to 40 percent of annual sales with the closure of the coastal salmon fishery for the past two years, according to Mr. Elie. Sportfishing makes up 97 percent of sales, with the rest coming from commercial fishing.

Mike Flitner of Keegan & Coppin represented building seller Werner Nase, and Chris Castellucci represented buyer OPS Properties LLC, which is operated by Mr. Elie.

For more information, call 707-588-8033 or visit www.outdoorproshop.com.