Whites Boots plans push into fishing gear
Expansion of retail area, storage space expected to be finished in June
Marlene MehlhaffFebruary 26th, 1998
Whites Boots Inc., the longtime Spokane manufacturer of work boots, plans to add 12,000 square feet of floor space to its 42,000-square-foot facility at 4002 E. Ferry to make room for a new retail push into fishing gear, says Alan Roberts, the companys chief financial officer.
Construction of the addition is expected to begin in March and be completed by the end of June, he says, adding that a cost estimate for the project isnt available yet.
Our goal is to be the finest fishing tackle store in the West, Roberts asserts. He says the demand for fishing supplies is growing, and the company believes it has an opportunity to garner sales that now are going to catalog retailers, such as Bass Pro and Cabelas. The plans are something weve kicked around for quite awhile, he adds.
Half of the additional space will be used to expand the companys retail showroom to display the new supplies for freshwater fishing, including rods, reels, line, and lures, Roberts says. The equipment will include fishing goods made specifically for Whites plus gear under other manufacturers labels, he says. The company also will continue to sell outdoor clothing and its boots there. The retail area is getting a new nameWhites Outdoorto reflect the greater variety of items being sold there, he says.
Part of the remaining new space will be developed into an approximately 1,000-square-foot meeting room that would seat up to 70 people, and the rest will be used for storage of fishing inventory.
The meeting room will be used to hold seminars and classes on fishing-related topics and possibly for meetings of local fishing clubs, Roberts says. Fishing education, he says, will be a big part of the companys foray into angling gear. It is working with professional guides to help produce seminars, newsletters, and other materials, he says. Its retail area also will include a virtual-reality fishing machine, he adds.
Roberts says the expansion will require Whites to hire more workers, but hes not sure yet how many people would be brought on. However, he says he would like to hire some of the young retired (people) who love to fish to provide some in-store expertise.
Whites, which has roots dating back more than 100 years, employs 105 people and had sales of about $10.1 million in 1997, about the same as in 1996. Monark Construction Inc., of Medical Lake, is the general contractor on the addition and also is assisting with the design of the spac