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Bristol Bass Pro Shop open for business

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    Tuesday, August 12 2014 1:37 PM EDT2014-08-12 17:37:45 GMT
    Bass Pro Shops is still under construction, but that did not stop officials from allowing News Channel 11's cameras in to see its progress.Our cameras caught a sneak peak of the inside of the store and Uncle Buck's Fishbowl and Grill.More >
    Bass Pro Shops is still under construction, but that did not stop officials from allowing News Channel 11’s cameras in to see its progress.Our cameras caught a sneak peak of the inside of the store and Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill.More >
BRISTOL, TN (WJHL) -

A highly anticipated Grand Opening took place Wednesday, two years in the making. The Bass Pro Shop in Bristol, Tennessee is open for business.

This store is the anchor for the new Pinnacle development and is more than just a retail space. It features a bowling alley and restaurant inside.

Hundreds of people lined up outside the store Wednesday afternoon, waiting for the doors to open to the public for the first time. Many stood for hours, some brought chairs, all of them were looking to catch a Grand Opening special.

Angler Jimmy Houston and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey were among the speakers for the Grand Opening Celebration. Finally, at 6:45, they cut the ribbon, and let the crowd in.

Johnny Morris, Founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, says the Bristol store is special for a few reasons. “Reminds me a lot of my hometown where I grew up and started Bass Pro in Springfield, Missouri. Beautiful mountain region, lots of natural resources, lakes, rivers, hunting fishing and friendly people at home, friendly people here,” he told News Channel 11.

Pinnacle Developer Steve Johnson said the Tri-Cities area has “deserved” a large regional development for years, and calls the Pinnacle a destination. “The intent was to find the right site, the right access, the right visibility, the right combination of tenants to have an honest to goodness regional development.”

Johnson said Wednesday's Grand Opening did not disappoint. “Wow! What a great day for Bristol. Incredible store opening, couldn't ask for a better anchor tenant than bass pro,” he said.

Shoppers seemed to agree. “It was great, it was awesome. I was looking forward to the store being open for a long time and was blessed to be the very first customer through the line,” Marvin Johnson, a resident of Piney Flats, told News Channel 11.

The new Bass Pro's very first customer said he'll be back. “[I'm] happy that I don't have to go all the way to Sevierville to go to a Bass Pro Shop,” Johnson said.

The Grand Opening celebration continues into the weekend. Over the next few days, Bass Pro Shops will be giving away gifts and prizes to some of the first people in line.

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