Out & About: Cabela’s expanding footprint rapidly

SUNDAY, AUG. 18, 2013

OUTSELL – Montana’s attraction for hunting, fishing and other outdoor tourism makes it a prime market for a rapidly expanding outdoor retail chain despite the state’s low population.

Cabela’s, based in Sidney, Neb., has 44 stores in 26 states and three provinces. Last month the company said it will build a store in Missoula.

CEO Tommy Millner said in a media release that positive response to Cabela’s 80,000 square-foot store in Billings and the new store coming to Kalispell in October “made it an easy decision to extend the Cabela’s retail footprint to Missoula.”

Montana will join Texas, Washington, Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska as the only states with three Cabela’s stores, although Texas is destined to take the lead with two more stores in the next year or so.

Idaho has Cabela’s stores in Post Falls and Boise.

The Missoula and Kalispell stores will be in the “Cabela’s Outpost” format, which debuted last fall with the 40,000 square-foot store in Union Gap near Yakima. Other Washington stores are in Lacey and on the Tulalip Indian Reservation next to Marysville.

The Post Falls Cabela’s store, by comparison, has 125,000 square feet of showroom space.

The Outpost stores are in markets of less than 250,000 people and are designed for efficiency, flexibility and convenience, the release said.

According to a Cabelas.com investor relations page, stores range from 35,000 square feet to a sprawling 247,000 square feet in the Sidney flagship store.

The large-format destination retail stores are 150,000 square feet or larger, the site said.

At Outposts, all of Cabela’s merchandise can be ordered through online kiosks with a no-charge, in-store pickup program.

Cabela’s has announced plans for opening another 19 retail stores in the next two years, including a 100,000 square-foot “next-generation store” in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2014.

In its release, Cabela’s bills itself as the world’s largest direct marketer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise.

Latest buzz: Yellowjackets continue to bug campers

OUTSTING – Stinging insects haven’t eased their attack since  the newspaper reported on the season of the wasp two weeks ago. “The bald-faced hornets and yellowjackets are as bad as I’ve seen in my life on the Coeur d’Alene River,” said fly-fishing guide G.L. Britton. “I expect to be stung every day out!”

Pesky yellowjackets drove Steve and Carol Weinberger out of Sam Owen Campground to eat a peaceful meal at a Lake Pend Oreille restaurant. “A waiter at the Beyond Hope resort said it was so bad on the restaurant deck they called an exterminator,” Steve said.

“A road construction flagger said she had been stung five times last week.”

Chuck Dunning set a personal record this week near Fruitland, being stung nine times in a day: “My hand feels like someone hit it with a hammer!”

Britton has found at least one ally: “I’ve seen pics of hummingbirds tongue-lassoing wasps ahead of the stingers and slicing off the danger.

“Last week, a rufous hummer took a paper wasp 3 feet from my face. After five seconds of squealing with action so fast I couldn’t discern the strategy, the bird swallowed the wasp.”

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