That giant pyramid is impossible to miss as you drive along the highway coming into downtown Memphis, Tennessee. A former sports and event venue that had been sitting vacant since 2004 has found new purpose as America’s newest Bass Pro Shop.
Legend has it that Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris was approached by the city of Memphis to build one of their stores inside the Pyramid and he ultimately decided to proceed after a friendly wager with fellow outdoorsman Bill Dance. Dance, a Memphis native and legend in the world of fishing was apparently with Mr. Morris when he said: “If we catch a 30 pound or heavier catfish today – I’ll put a Bass Pro inside the pyramid.” The legend continues that they wound up catching a 34 pound catfish and so the project began.
The new Bass Pro Shop is 32 stories tall with a hotel, 600,000 gallons worth of water features and an observation deck at the very top.
The retail space is 535,000 square feet with all of the outdoor merchandise you’d expect. In addition to shopping, you can dine, go bowling and ride to the top in the country’s tallest free standing elevator.
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The store has been a huge attraction for downtown Memphis generating interest from around the region and a boost to the local economy here as well – creating more than 600 regular jobs in addition to the 1,600 jobs created during renovations.