Cabela's plans first Ohio store in Columbus
COLUMBUS -- Cabela's, an outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, noticed the number of central Ohioans ordering its products online or traveling to its Wheeling, W.Va., store.
As a result, the company announced Thursday it will add an 80,000-square-foot store in Columbus, at the Polaris Centers development at Gemini Parkway and Interstate 71.
Construction on the first Cabela's store in Ohio begins in the spring, with the opening planned for spring 2013. The company plans to open five of its next-generation stores this year and three more in 2013, including Columbus.
Aaron Parks, of Newark, who travels to the Wheeling store every year, was excited to hear the news.
"I've been going there once per year with a big group of guys before deer season to get all loaded up on what we need," Parks said.
"For one to be in central Ohio, that's a dream come true," he said. "We've been asking for one for years. We're looking forward to it. It'll be a great addition to Ohio."
Parks said he doesn't know whether he'll spend more money because he might go more often or spend less because the trip is much closer.
Cabela's spokesman Wes Remmer said the company reviews its customer habits to help decide where to locate new stores.
"There's a lot that goes into it," Remmer said. "We look at our customers and who's buying products online, and try to build right in the middle of hot spots.
"We did have a large number of loyal customers, not only in Columbus, but in surrounding areas in Ohio."
Jim Martin, of Dresden, said he not only travels to the Wheeling store, but also shops through the Cabela's catalog and online. He'll go to Polaris but still might travel to Wheeling.
"I've had excellent customer service," Martin said. "It's got pretty much everything you need. I'll definitely check it out. I like road trips and go to see what's new."
Remmer said the company's store at Polaris will feature not only hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and boating equipment, but also a 5,575-gallon aquarium with fish native to the area, a deli, jewelry, cookware and a fudge shop.
The stores also feature conservation-themed wildlife displays, trophy animal mounts on a mountain, a gun library and a bargain cave.
"We hope it's an experience and not simply shopping," Remmer said. "We're hoping to draw all sorts of people, anyone who likes to get outdoors."
The new store will employ up to 175 full- and part-time employees.
The building's exterior will reflect Cabela's store model of log construction, stonework, wood siding and metal roofing. A large glass storefront will allow customers to view much of the interior.
"We have so many great customers in the Buckeye State who share our passion for the outdoors, who live the Cabela's lifestyle, we wanted to build this store to better serve them," Cabela's Chief Executive Officer Tommy Millner stated in a news release.
Cabela's, based in Sidney, Neb., employs about 14,000 at its 34 stores, including 32 in the U.S. and two in Canada.