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Mack’s Prairie Wings, Bass Pro Shops Announce Partnership 

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Mack’s Prairie Wings of Stuttgart, the 80-year-old retailer for waterfowlers, and Bass Pro Shops of  Springfield, Missouri, announced Friday that they have formed a partnership.

“The driving force behind the partnership is the strikingly similar history and passion of the companies,” according to a joint statement released late Friday afternoon. “Both entities were founded by visionaries passionate about the great outdoors.”

On Friday, rumors were spreading among some Arkansas duck hunters that Bass Pro Shops had bought Mack’s Prairie Wings.

Officials at Mack’s didn’t immediately return messages for comment. And a Bass Pro spokesperson told Arkansas Business Friday afternoon that it was working on a press release.

The press release, however, didn’t offer any specific details about the partnership.

But Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris said in the statement that Bass Pro admires the team at Mack’s Prairie Wings for its commitment to serve the waterfowl community. “By uniting, our hope is to amplify the impact of our combined expert knowledge to better serve customers and increase our shared commitment to conservation,” Morris said in the statement.

The companies said uniting “presents a ‘win-win’ opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts everywhere.”

“Customers are going to benefit from Bass Pro Shops and Mack’s partnership as two specialty stores selling fun in the great outdoors,” Chuck Lock, partner of Mack’s Prairie Wings, said in the release. “We look forward to growing together with our new partners.”

Mack’s Prairie Wings dates back to the 1930s, when duck hunters swarmed McCollum’s Hardware Store to buy equipment for duck hunting, according to its website.

“Business was so good that owner M.T. ‘Mack’ McCollum decided to take the sporting goods out of the hardware store and open a separate store in 1944,” the website said. 

Mack’s Sports Shop then opened, possibly making it the first sporting goods store.

McCollum’s son, Marion, joined the company in 1961.

The retailer moved into a 3,200-SF building on Highway 79 in 1970, and the store was “decorated with various animal and fish mounts and filled with every item for the duck hunter becoming a tourist attraction during the hunting season,” the website said.

The company continued to grow, and in 1993, it blossomed with the release of its mail order catalog business. 

Space was added to the store, making it more than 18,000 SF, mainly for inventory. In 2002, 2.4 million catalogs were shipped.

In 2000, Mack’s Prairie Wings held a grand opening for its 55,000-SF location on U.S. Highway 63 in Stuttgart. Since then, the store has expanded to 125,000-SF, and it includes 40,000-SF of showroom space. 

“The new store is world known as The Waterfowl Mecca in the heart of the ‘Rice and Duck Capital of the World,’” the website said. 

Marion McCollum, who died at the age of 81 in 2023, was also known for his contributions to habitat conservation. He was inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame in 2007, the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2008, and received the Jerry Jones Sportsman’s Award by Little Rock Ducks Unlimited in 2010.

He also was inducted into the inaugural class of the Waterfowler Hall of Fame in 2016.

In addition to his work expanding Mack’s Prairie Wings, McCollum was a commissioner with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission from 1995 to 2002.

During his tenure, the agency acquired what is now the Rick Evans Grandview Prairieview Wildlife Management Area and Nature Center.

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