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Moosejaw’s 1st Utah location opens as chain’s other nationwide stores prepare to close

Oct 20, 2023, 4:30 PM

MooseJaws opening (Salt Lake City)...

MooseJaws opening (Salt Lake City)

(Salt Lake City)

SALT LAKE CITY — Nick Rau and other Moosejaw executives immediately fell in love with the historic building they toured two years ago in the outdoor gear retail chain’s search for its first Utah location.

The building, located almost a block south of the 900 East TRAX station in Salt Lake City’s Central City neighborhood, has stood in the area for about a century. But they believed it was the perfect place for their newest home.

“When we first saw it, we fell in love — beautiful brick, beautiful barrel-vaulted ceiling,” said Rau, director of marketing for the Michigan-based company. “(We) got excited.”

So much has happened since then, making this location a little more unique.

Dick’s Sporting Goods acquired the company earlier this year. Then, last month, it decided it would shutter most of Moosejaw’s nationwide locations, Retail Dive reported. The outlet reported that Moosejaw’s Salt Lake City location, which officially opened on Thursday, is one of three that will remain open in the future, joining a store in Bentonville, Arkansas, and another in Birmingham, Michigan.

Despite the major shakeups, Rau said everyone wanted to move forward with an expansion out to Utah. Having visited enough times, especially for the Outdoor Retailer trade show, which returned to Salt Lake City earlier this year, they wanted to have a physical location for the major outdoor-loving state.

The nearly 8,200-square-foot facility offers all sorts of clothing, shoes, mountain bikes and other outdoor gear from leading brands.

“We knew Salt Lake was a place we had to be. (It’s) a major mecca for outdoors — everything is so close to reach,” Rau said, moments after employees and Salt Lake City leaders cut a ribbon to open the new store. “It (took) time to build the kind of momentum we needed to have a space here.”

Conversely, Salt Lake leaders say they are thrilled with Moosejaw’s arrival, arguing that it shows the strength of the region’s outdoor passion. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said she’s happy that the company also chose a location in a part of the city that hasn’t had as much business “activation” in a while, especially as the last of the nearby box stores close on 900 East.

She calls the company a “natural fit” for the city and said it may help jumpstart new business in the area, a few blocks north of the city’s 9th & 9th district.

“This is a new toehold for what could be a rejuvenation of small businesses coming into this northern part of the 9th & 9th neighborhood,” she told KSL.com. “And we love this old building that has been … (used) for different uses. It’s a really beautiful space.”

Meanwhile, the company is celebrating its Utah arrival with a vendor fair on Saturday, which will include food, drinks, music, sales and giveaways. The all-day event begins at 9 a.m.

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Moosejaw’s 1st Utah location opens as chain’s other nationwide stores prepare to close