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A new superstore: good or bad news?

SPRINGVILLE — Cabela’s Crossing, a big-box outdoor superstore, plans to open this fall in Cheektowaga and will hire 225 employees, both full and part-time. The store will be 88,000 square feet and marks the first New York location for the chain, which has 53 stores in the country, with plans to start 21 more, within the next two years. Applications to work at the outdoor store are now being accepted at www.cabelas.jobs, and interviews will take place May 12-16, for interested candidates.

The outdoor superstore is more of an experience than a simple shopping center, with lifelike wildlife displays, a mountain replica, an indoor archery range and tech room, as well as a deli, fudge shop, boat shop and gun library.

Buffalo may not have been successful in reeling in Bass Pro for the Lake Erie waterfront, but Cabela’s isn’t a bad consolation prize, for those looking for a one-stop outdoor shop.

I visited a Cabela’s store in 2004, while on an RV trip to the Grand Tetons with my family. We stopped at a Bass Pro too, not only to check out the camping gear at each location, but to stock up on supplies and parts for the 1987 Winnebago we kept limping across the country, that year. It had a tendency to break down in remote locales, like during a New Mexico dust storm, but that’s a story for another time.

To my mind, the arrival of Cabela’s is good news for the region, not only in jobs creation, but shopping options, too. The installation of a big-box store like Cabela’s spells competition for local sporting goods stores, but what does that mean for the consumer? Those stores will have to start competing for attention, shoppers and sales. And in that kind of contest, the consumer always wins.

It was William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday last week. In honor of my buddy Billy Shakes, this quote from Macbeth popped into my head: “If you can look into the seeds oftime and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me.”

In simpler terms, as much fun as it is to speculate on the success of this new superstore, its impact on local business and whether it’s a friend or foe to those establishments, it’s just that: speculation. I think there’s a little gambler in all of us, when we look sidelong at progress and wonder what it means for us.

There are those who demonize big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Cabela’s for their impact on local commerce. But the fact is, 225 jobs is nothing to sneeze at. And if that means 225 more people can stay in the region, spend their dollars to boost our economy and help all of us stay in the area, as a result? I’m all for it.

So, whether you’re looking at Cabela’s as a job-seeker, an outdoor enthusiast or a small business owner, let the seeds sprout as they may. A garden of options is good news for all of us, no matter how you rake it.
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