Saturday, March 11, 2000

Cabela’s local megastore to open by fall

Cabela’s local megastore to open by fall
The Ann Arbor News
By Pamela Appea
Dundee, Michigan--Cabela’s is coming.

The national hunting, fishing and outdoor gear retailer will open a huge retail facility in Dundee in September.

Cabela’s officials boast the planned store, the seventh retail outfit in the chain, will become the “top tourist attraction” in Michigan, drawing 6 million visitors or more each year.

The Cabela’s showroom in Dundee is expected to feature everything from outdoor sports, including tents, sport-utility vehicles, clothing, and fishing and hunting equipment. The entire store will encompass 220,000 square feet.

Along with merchandise, the store will showcase stuffed animals from all over the world, much like a museum. Cabela’s will also have an aquarium, a display of antique and prize-worthy guns, and conference space for meetings.

Chelsea resident Don Janowiecki said he has been a faithful Cabela’s catalog customer for at least 15 years.

“I think a lot of people from Michigan and Ohio are going to come to this Cabela’s store,” Janowiecki said.

Bob Wolverton, vice president of the Lenawee County Conservation League, said he plans to go to Cabela’s to see what it’s like once the store opens. Like Janowiecki, Wolverton has received Cabela’s catalogs for years.

Cabela’s officials said another draw at the Dundee store will be an “interactive” laser gun shooting practice ranges where adults and children can practice targeting shooting at taped videos of animals.

The compound hall, built on 150 acres, will also house hotels, resteraunts and service stations in the future, similar to other Cabela’s complexes in rural and semi rural pockets of Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

“It’s conceivable that our six million (visitors) estimate could be broken. It’s a conservative estimate,” said Cheyanne West, retail marketing manager for Cabela’s Retail.

In comparison, Ann Arbor’s Briarwood Mall attracts between eight million and 11.5 million people a year, according to Briarwood general manager Marc P. Strich.

West said Dundee was picked as the next site for the Nebraska-based chain, due to a high number of Cabela’s catalogue sales coming in from the Michigan and Ohio areas.

Susy Avery, vice president of Travel Michigan in Lansing, said the agency courted Cabela’s so the company would pock Michigan as its next retail site. Michigan was vying for the store with other states including Pennsylvania and Ohio, Avery said.

Residents of communities near Dundee--including Tecumseh, Saline and Clinton--are preparing for a possible increase in traffic and development as a result of Cabela’s.

Patrick Burtch, the longtime village manager of Dundee, said he’s been contacted by some people who “have a lot of misinformation on Cabela’s.”

“A lot of people have problems about the amount of traffic,” Burtch said.
“People get in their mind six-to-eight million Cabela’s visitors means six-to-eight million cars a year,” he said.

But the village manager said most Cabela’s customers and visitors will come in on tour buses or otherwise in groups. Citing a Cabelas’s-sponsored traffic impact study, Burtch said that 3,600 cars--during peak hours--would come off the expressway to Dundee.

“That’s just a small percentage increase,” he said.

Greg Golab, the appointed manager of the Dundee store said the retail outlet hopes to hire between 500 and 500 people. Most employment will come from the local area, Golab said. But several higher-level management positions may be filled with people from outside the state.
When asked whether he anticipates difficulty hiring, Golab said, “It’s definitely going to be an issue.”

The unemployment rate in Dundee, a town of 3,200 is about 2 percent, Burtch said. Nearby Tecumseh, Clinton and Saline have similar low-levels of unemployment, officials said. But Golab said he feels Cabela’s has a lot to offer its employees, citing the company’s compensation and benfits package.

Including Cabela’s catalog staff, the company employs 2,426 people in the United States. According to the Fortune magazine Webs site, Cabela’s revenue in 1998 was $667 million.

Originally published Saturday, March 11, 2000