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A lost space for the outdoor community: Grand River Ave. Moosejaw to close

September 29, 2023
The Moosejaw location on Grand River Ave in downtown East Lansing on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023. Dick's Sporting Goods is shuttering 11 of its 14 locations, including its East Lansing store.
The Moosejaw location on Grand River Ave in downtown East Lansing on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023. Dick's Sporting Goods is shuttering 11 of its 14 locations, including its East Lansing store. —
Photo by Jack Armstrong | The State News

The outdoor gear and apparel store, Moosejaw, located off of East Lansing’s Grand River Ave., along with 11 other store locations, is set to close after the Michigan-based company’s acquisition by Dick’s Sporting Goods in Feb. this year. 

In 2021, Dick’s established its first outdoor concept store, Public Lands, with a brick-and-mortar location in Pittsburgh. The store features an assortment of outdoor apparel and gear. According to a written statement from the Dick’s press team, the decision to merge with Moosejaw contributes to the growth of Public Lands.

“After careful review of our outdoor specialty business, we have decided to form one team that will support the operations of Public Lands and Moosejaw," the statement said. "The team will be based at Public Lands’ headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA.”

There are currently 14 Moosejaw locations across the country. Of the 14, three will remain open: Birmingham, MI, the only one to remain in Michigan, Bentonville, AR and Salt Lake City, UT. The brand will also continue to be available online. The official Dick’s statement continues as follows:

“This move supports our business optimization efforts and will allow us to operate more efficiently, quickly leverage best practices across our outdoor business and drive our long-term success. We look forward to continuing to provide outdoor enthusiasts great gear and service on Moosejaw.com, PublicLands.com and at Moosejaw and Public Lands retail locations.”

The East Lansing Moosejaw is a favorite among MSU outdoor enthusiasts, like MSU Outdoors Club, or MSUOC, president Katie Joles

“I have a lot of friends and roommates who have worked there,” Joles said. “So it’s been a space for community, just to pop in and see what’s up. Maybe toss around a beanbag for cornhole.”

In addition to offering a 20% student discount, Moosejaw collaborates with MSUOC for events, sponsorships and giveaways. Since becoming the president of the organization, Joles said her relationship with Moosejaw has evolved into a professional one, as well.

“It turned into more of a partnership,” Joles said. “So it’s changed a lot over the course of my college career, but I’ve gone from being a customer to being a sort of business partner.”

The club is still planning on collaborating with the store, looking to host an upcoming introduction to outdoor gear event in collaboration with Moosejaw on Oct. 16 at the Grand River Ave. location.

“We’re going to continue to work with them until they close because we love working with them and we want to make the most of our last couple of months with them,” Joles said. “After that, we’re going to scope out other possible deals with outdoor organizations.” 

Moosejaw is the only small outdoor specialty store of its kind in the Lansing area. Joles said that it is unlikely that another outdoors store would fulfill the store’s role in the community.

“Nothing can really replace having the Moosejaw on Grand River,” Joles said. “Unless they magically open up another outdoor recreation store there, which I doubt they will. It’ll be different and probably a little less of a community-focused partnership and more of a pro-deal situation." 

MSU students Addison Swanson and Ellie McGlashen are regular Moosejaw customers. Swanson said she and McGlashen walk to Moosejaw from campus often.

“We’ve met most of the workers here,” Swanson said. “Whenever I come in, it’s fun to see what they’re doing, to stop and chat. Sometimes we come here just because the atmosphere is so cozy. It’s just very welcoming.”

McGlashen said she grew up shopping at outdoor specialty store REI, but started shopping at the East Lansing Moosejaw for the student discount once she came to MSU. She said she will continue to shop at Moosejaw online after they close.

“I never buy anything outdoors at full price,” McGlashen said. “I’ll cross-check prices between REI and Moosejaw and little stores in between. So I’ll still be looking at Moosejaw, I’ll just be disappointed I can’t try anything on here anymore.”

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