Two weeks from opening, Cabela’s boasts 80,000 square feet of outdoors shopping

02/28/2012 5:00 AM

08/05/2014 6:24 PM

At first glance, it’s hard to fathom how Wichita Cabela’s officials are going to need another two weeks to open: Staffers scurrying everywhere, product on most shelves.

Nonetheless, it’s going to be 11 a.m. March 14 before the destination outdoors retailer opens its doors at K-96 and Greenwich.

Make no mistake: Cabela’s is about outdoor sports first, second and third. The 80,000-square-foot store’s fishing department takes up about 5,000 square feet of its own.

“One thing that’s really unique about this department is that every lure you could possibly have we have,” said Gary Snyder of Wichita, who was stocking the department on Tuesday. “If you’ve ever fished anything as your favorite, if we ain’t got it, we’ll get it.”

But the company has other people besides outdoors aficionados in mind: There’s a 20-foot mountain featuring about 35 large- and small-game animal mounts from North America that company spokesman Wes Remmer said is an attraction for the non-outdoors types who come in with their hunter or fishing lover.

“It’s a draw for everyone, whether you’re a guy, a gal, young or old,” Remmer said. “It’s got the 4,000-gallon aquarium on the side. You can simply look at it and be entertained. The display speaks for itself.”

Cabela’s clothing department is another draw, Remmer said, targeting outdoors enthusiasts and their families.

“When you take a look around, there’s more than the outdoorsy stuff,” Remmer said. “We’ve got T-shirts, shorts. It’s not all hunting and fishing. We like to offer something for everyone.”

For example, the sophisticated gun collector with a bankroll can find a huge collection of hard-to-find firearms in the store’s gun library, ranging from $1,000 to $18,000.

“Cabela’s is very proud of its gun library. We have one in every store, and it’s the gem of the store,” Remmer said. “There are definitely collectors out there, and if you get someone in here it’s safe to say that they are an avid gun person.”

The Wichita gun library has shotguns, handguns and rifles dating to the early 1800s and some of the first repeating firearms, all acquired by the company’s team of vintage-gun buyers.

“We have a team of guys who work the shows, buying, selling and trading guns,” Remmer said. “It’s quite a process.”

Austin native P.J. Martinez runs the gun library, which also includes customer service issues like repairs.

“I get to buy and sell guns all day,” he said, smiling.

The store’s other features include a bargain cave with discounted prices on returned and discontinued merchandise, a fudge shop stocked with homemade goods, a grill serving lunch and a conference and seminar room that includes a clinic area.

The Wichita store is one of six Cabela’s will open this year. The other sites are Tulalip, Wash.; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Rogers, Ark.; Union Gap, Wash.; and Charleston, W.Va.

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