Cabela’s, an outdoor goods megastore, is getting ready for a grand opening in two weeks that it hopes will attract as many 6,000 customers.
The Garner Cabela’s will be the first in North Carolina. The Nebraska-based chain recently opened a store in South Carolina.
On Thursday morning, employees were finishing up the last few touches on decorations and inventory at the 105,000-square-foot Garner store. It is off U.S. 70 and Jones Sausage Road, across from the White Oak Shopping Center.
When customers walk through the doors of the store, they will immediately see a stuffed elk mounted on a small mountain. To the right there is a fireplace, with a black-and-white portrait above it that was submitted by a local.
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The store will offer classes in gun safety, backpacking, camping and fly fishing. It also will teach kids how to shoot a BB gun, said Cristy Bullock, retail marketing manager.
The business also will include a deli and fudge shop, a full-service boat shop, an indoor archery range, an aquarium and a gun library.
Of the 1,200 applicants Cabela’s interviewed, it hired 247 people, Bullock said.
Melony Strickland, 43, a Raleigh native and mother of a one-year-old, said she applied for the position because she wanted to get her family more involved in the outdoors.
“I wanted to familiarize my family with it,” Strickland said. “They have fishing classes, and I thought that would be a good opportunity to get my husband and my son in.”
Strickland previously was a kindergarten teacher at Cleveland Elementary School.
Archery department salesman Robert Brewer, 24, applied for a Cabela’s job after he retired from the military. Brewer, a Garner native, said that while he was stationed in Alaska, his family told him that Cabela’s was opening a store in Garner. He checked every day online for the application to come up.
“As soon as I saw it, I applied,” he said. “Because this is my passion. This is what I do for fun. So if I can take something I can do for fun, and show others how to do it the right way, it’s a ‘win-win’ for me.”
Brewer will get the April 16 grand-opening ceremony started. He will be in a tree and will shoot a ribbon with a bow-and-arrow to signify the opening of the store.
“I’ve never heard of anything like that, so I was just amazed when I was given that opportunity,” he said.
Cabela’s isn’t revealing any secrets yet, but says the store’s first 500 customers will get a prize. The grand opening will last through the April 17 weekend. There will be a concert with special appearances from Lucas Hoge, a country music artist; Laura Lynn, a television and radio host; the Mr. and Mrs. Wuf mascots from N.C. State University and a Sasquatch mascot.
On April 18, customers can try an archery challenge, ride on land equipment, shoot BB guns and do many other activities.
‘It’s a lifestyle’
Bullock said the new store is expected to draw about 1 million visitors a year.
“We have people show up with their RVs and they’ll camp out on the side,” Bullock said. “It’s a lifestyle.”
It also has attracted more business. Adjacent to the Cabela’s, there will be a Drury Inn Hotel, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, City Barbeque, Longhorn, Red Robin, Carolina Ale House and a Starbucks.
“That’s the great thing about this location going in,” Bullock said. “Once we announced that this Cabela’s was going in, you can see all this construction going in. So we’re bringing these additional businesses when they see Cabela’s.”
Headquartered in Sidney, Neb., Cabela’s has 67 locations in North America.
It was started by Dick Cabela, who died last year. His wife and sons now own the business.
A business begins
The story goes that Cabela purchased $45 worth of fishing flies at a furniture expo in Chicago and advertised them for sale in a local newspaper. It initially only produced one response. So he placed the ad in a national magazine, which drew much more interest. He started selling more items.
As the business grew, Cabela and his wife moved their operation to Sidney. The first Cabela’s store opened in 1969.
The April 16 grand opening will begin at 9:45 a.m. Police will be there to direct traffic.