Cabela’s marketing manager, Donald Ashworth, a Western New York resident from Lakeview, New York, provides a preview of the new location. Photo by Forrest Fisher.
Cabela’s is a retail supplier of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear and it will celebrate the official grand opening of its first New York State store, an 88,000-square foot museum-like facility, next Thursday, August 7, with a special ribbon cutting ceremony.
Special, because the grand-opening ribbon will be cut by an arrow shot from a bow by a local Cabela’s outfitter…no pressure there! Cabela’s employees are known as “outfitters”. Look for the arrow to fly at 10:45 a.m. followed by the “doors open” moment at 11 a.m.
The weekend to follow will offer a celebration with special appearances from outdoor personalities, family events, giveaways and more will follow. See www.cabelas.com/stores for a complete listing of events. Store goers will also have a first-hand opportunity to meet members of local outdoor and conservation clubs, also invited to attend the grand opening weekend days running from Friday, Aug. 8 through Sunday, Aug. 10. Club attendees include the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen, the Niagara Musky Association, Southtowns Walleye Association and many more groups.
The store is located across the street from the Walden Galleria at the southeast corner of I-90 and Walden Avenue in a shopping center renamed “Cabela’s Crossing,” where about 225 full-time and part-time employees with an outdoor passion have new jobs to staff the store. A hotel complex is underway in the same shopping center and will also bolster weekend trips to the store and the area.
Earlier this week, I met with marketing manager Donald Ashworth, who explained, “Our new store is being built in Cabela’s next-generation layout designed to surround customers with an outdoor-like experience that includes museum-quality wildlife displays at vertical levels above the shopping area and employees who share their passion for the outdoors with our customers. We have hired outdoor experts from the Niagara Region in every department to help folks better understand our thousands of quality outdoor products.”
We toured the store from one end to the other, including the center of the attraction, a large mountain facsimile that offers very realistic looking wildlife replicas such as mountain lions, Buffalo, elk, deer, fox, wolves, coyotes, pheasants and much more. There is also an indoor archery range, archery tech room, gun shop, gun library (rare firearms, civil war, etc.), bargain cave, boat shop, tractor shop, ATV shop, deli and perhaps the tastiest place of all, the fudge shop. We sampled some — it was so good!
Outdoors folks from every corner of Western New York can recall the years of headlines with promises for a new outdoor store in downtown Buffalo from a competitor of Cabela’s, but that store never came. Everyone was excited! For that other company, discussions of public and local assistance funding dotted discussion headlines. What I really like about Cabela’s is it never asked anyone for funding help. The store just went out and did what it had to do: build a giant outdoor store in a Western New York area that is absolutely dying for such a place. The store sought no public assistance, no taxpayer money and no special deals from legislators or Albany.
According to Ashworth, “We just looked at regional areas that purchased our products through our outdoor catalogs. The bonus was that local WNY folks also used our credit card for much of their other business, so we knew there was a great outdoor market here. This will be Cabela’s store number 57, we already have another New York store planned for just north of New York City.”
If you notice a busy parking lot next Monday evening, Aug. 4, there is sneak preview night for a limited number of members from conservation groups that will participate in the grand opening event details - they will have a chance to become familiar with the store layout. You need a special admission ticket to enter, so if you don’t have one, stay at home until Thursday.
After that, be sure to let these folks know that we appreciate their store location choice of for this new outdoor megalopolis. You and I know they will appreciate that there are 104,000 licensed sportsmen in Erie County alone, not counting campers, hikers, bird-watchers, kayakers and many other outdoor fun groups where licenses are not required (so it’s hard to get a count).
Without doubt, WNY will prove that Cabela’s is going to really like it here. Until next time, enjoy every outdoor moment.
Send outdoors info to Forrest Fisher Column 10 days in advance, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.