August 6, 2008, 12:00 AM

Gander Mountain wants web shoppers taking a gander

After a long stay on the sideline, Gander Mountain Co. got back into the e-commerce ballgame in 2007. The retailer is now launching its own site:

After a long stay on the sideline, Gander Mountain Co. got back into the e-commerce ballgame when it acquired the direct marketing and web business of Overton’s in December.

Now the company, No. 213 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is once more making up for lost time with the launch of The new site will feature 10,000 products and include various aspects of social networking and live chat.

For example, will include a bragging board where customers will be able to upload photos of their latest hunting or fishing adventure. Customers will also be able to write product reviews and read other customer reviews prior to making a purchase.

“We enjoy sharing in the outdoor experience with our customers, and we didn`t want to lose that sense of community and personal service when we launched,” says Gander Mountain CEO Mark Baker. “These interactive features and customer service contact options complement what we are doing in our 115 retail stores."

The launch of the new web site will be integrated with the debut of a catalog and coordinated with the retailer’s network of stores in 23 states. The new web site and catalog marks Gander Mountain`s return to its own branded direct marketing channel. The company launched its first catalog in 1960, but later sold off its direct marketing arm to Cabela’s Inc., No. 40 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Gander Mountain acquired Overton’s, a direct marketer and web retailer of specialty water sports and related marine accessories, from Linsalata Capital Partners, a Cleveland-based private equity firm. Gander Mountain paid approximately $70 million in cash for the company.

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