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Cabela’s Competes For Share Of Outdoor Enthusiasts
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One of the countryâ€™s biggest destination shopping draws will open its first Ohio store next week. The outdoors retailer Cabelaâ€™s will open its huge store near Polaris. WOSU got a sneak peek inside the mega-store, and reports on its possible impact on Central Ohio retail.
The sounds of ducks, turkeys and elk reverberated throughout the new Cabelaâ€™s store on Gemini Parkway Tuesday morning.
Mountain lions, deer and rams look on as several Cabelaâ€™s game call specialists demonstrate equipment hunters will be able to peruse next week when the store opens to the public. Not to worry, the animals are not real. Theyâ€™re part of life-like displays throughout the expansive 80,000- square foot building.
Cabelaâ€™s is the IKEA for hunters and fishermen. Outdoor enthusiasts travel for hours to buy Cabelaâ€™s huge selection of gear and clothing. And thereâ€™s a cafÃ© with boar burgers and homemade fudge on the menu, which ever suits your taste buds.
Cabelaâ€™s chose the storeâ€™s location carefully, just off I-71, itâ€™s near the Polaris mall. Company spokesman Wes Remmer said itâ€™s accessible and visible.
â€œThereâ€™s already so many great things going on in this area,” Remmer said. “You know, there are nice places to stay, nice places to shop, nice places to eat. So we hope to add to the draw of what already is a great place.â€
And itâ€™s expected to attract customers from across the state.
Chris Boring, owner of Boulevard Strategies, a Columbus economic and retail analysis firm, said this could mean more business for the mall.
â€œCabelaâ€™s is going to serve more of a male segment, but a lot of times youâ€™re going to have spouses traveling together, and they may make a stop in both places,” he said.
Boring expects Cabelaâ€™s, which also sells guns, to succeed especially since demand for firearms has increased. And Boring predicts other outdoor retailers will feel a hit when Cabelaâ€™s opens.
â€œCabelaâ€™s is a very special shopping experience for those who are hunting and fishing enthusiasts,” Boring said. “And I think that theyâ€™re going to come in and take a significant share of the market from everyone from Dickâ€™s and Gander Mountain down to smaller independents.â€
One of those smaller independents, Clintonville Outfitters has carved out a loyal customer base in its five years of existence. Owner Jonathan Barth said he does not anticipate Cabelas to hurt his bottom line. For starters, Barth said he carries some brands that Cabelaâ€™s does not sell.
â€œThe other nice thing about Cabelaâ€™s is theyâ€™re not a discounter. So itâ€™s not like, if they do carry the same thing as I do that itâ€™s going to be 20 percent less there than it is here,” Barth said. “Itâ€™s going to be the same price. So not to mention convenience for my customers being close to where they are and close to campus.â€
But Barth isnâ€™t taking any chances. Heâ€™s plans a marketing campaign as Cabelaâ€™s opens.
â€œKind of remind people that weâ€™re here, and get our name back in peopleâ€™s ears. So youâ€™ll be seeing that. Weâ€™re doing a little bit of rebranding with our business, as well,” he said.
The overall good news: retail construction in Columbus is picking up. In addition to Cabelaâ€™s, Columbus also is set to get an American Girl doll store at Easton Town Center this summer. Analyst Chris Boring says the retail vacancy rate is 10 percent, the lowest since 2004. Just another sign the economy is recovering.