New Field & Stream store in Cranberry has admirers hooked

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Joe Piccioni predicted that his son, Brian, who lives in California, will be impressed with the new Field & Stream store in Cranberry.

"He's an avid hunter, and I think he'll love coming here when he visits at Christmas," Mr. Piccioni said after he toured the new specialty retailer.

The 50,000-square-foot store opened Friday in the Cranberry Square plaza with three days of special events and activities. Opening-day activities attracted so many customers that Cranberry police directed traffic around the store and shoppers parked as far away as the Costco lot. The building housing Field & Stream formerly was Dick's Sporting Goods, which had been one of the plaza's original tenants when it opened in the mid-1990s. Dick's relocated to Route 228 late last year as a two-story anchor in the Cranberry Crossroads development by ECHO Inc., the development arm of Giant Eagle.

Mr. Piccioni, who lives in Cranberry, described himself as "an occasional fisherman." Golf, however, is his main interest.

Mike Zuzow of New Castle also was there to check out some of the outdoors store's 35,000 lures and 15,000 flies. "It's a good selection of fishing equipment -- very nice," he said after negotiating the store's crowded aisles on Friday afternoon.

The Cranberry Field & Stream is the first of the outdoor-themed specialty stores planned by Dick's, its Findlay-based corporate parent. The prototype is located in a converted Dick's store that has been made over to resemble a hunting lodge.

A snow-covered indoor mountain dominates the rear of the store. Dozens of mounted animals, including a moose that appears to be at least five feet tall at the shoulder, look down at shoppers. Elsewhere on the mountain a Canadian lynx has cornered a pine marten on a bare tree branch. As the scene is presented by the taxidermist, the much smaller weasel isn't intimidated by the growling wildcat.

Each Field & Stream store will be different, company spokeswoman Shian-Li McGuire said. The stores take their name from the iconic magazine, founded in 1895 and devoted to fishing, hunting and outdoors tips.

"The goal is to offer an experience that lives up to the 'Field & Stream' brand, which holds a special place in the hearts and minds of sportsmen," she said.

Pennsylvania has a long-standing tradition of whitetail deer hunting, and the merchandise for sale in Cranberry reflects that local interest.

The store has an indoor archery range for setting up, testing and tuning hunting bows, she said.

The goal is to offer customers a 'pro-shop' experience within a larger store.

The second Field & Stream will open in November in Crescent Springs, Ky., south of Cincinnati. The company's third store will open sometime in 2014 in Millcreek Township, south of Erie, Ms. McGuire said.

Several customers said Field & Stream reminded them of Cabela's, which operates outdoors specialty stores several times larger than Field & Stream's retail operations.

Field & Stream will compete with its larger rival by operating name-brand shops for products such as Hoyt bows and Under Armour and Sitka outdoor clothing within its stores, Ms. McGuire said.

"We've hired outdoors enthusiasts to work here who will add value to the relationship," she said. Field & Stream also plans special events, clinics and "how-to" demonstrations.

That all sounds good to Mr. Zuzow. "It's much closer to come here than to go to Cabella's," he said.

Field & Stream is on the west side of Route 19, about a half-mile north of Route 228.

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Len Barcousky: or 412-263-1159.


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