Cabela's Inc., the popular hunting-and-fishing-gear giant widely considered a "destination retailer," plans to move directly into the Twin Cities metro area by opening its fourth Minnesota megastore in Woodbury, the company said Tuesday.
The Nebraska-based outfitter, whose distinctive, sprawling stores draw sightseers as well as shoppers, announced Tuesday that it will open an 85,000-square-foot store in Woodbury's Tamarack Village Shopping Center in fall 2014. Cabela's already has stores in Owatonna, Rogers and East Grand Forks.
The Woodbury store will employ up to 185 full- and part-time employees, the company said. Construction will start in the fall.
The announcement was a welcome surprise to Woodbury officials, who learned Tuesday about the new retail development coming to town.
"Woodbury is known as a regional shopping center, and this will add to that," said former Woodbury Mayor Bill Hargis. "It definitely will solidify that."
Cabela's move into the metro area also probably "signals the economy is starting to come back," he said.
Cabela's spokesman Gus Delaporte said his company has had "great success" in Minnesota. "We have a lot of loyal customers there," he said. "There are very passionate outdoorsmen and women in the state, and we felt it was the right time to bring a store to Woodbury."
The Woodbury store will be less than half the size of the 185,000-square-foot Rogers location, which was built in 2005 at a cost of $50 million. The Rogers store sports more than 400 mounted animals, a large aquarium, an indoor archery range, a shooting gallery, a fine-art gallery and a 28-foot mountain covered with artificial vegetation. By comparison, the Owatonna store, which opened in 1998, is 155,000 square feet, and the East Grand Forks store, which opened in 1999, is 60,000 square feet. Cabela's largest U.S. store, in Hamburg, Pa., is 250,000 square feet.
Still, a destination store
When the Rogers megastore was built, it made that outer-ring northwest suburb a destination community. The once-sleepy town that vacationers had zoomed through on their way to towns and resorts farther north expanded as it annexed land from surrounding Hassan Township and added other businesses, housing developments and roads.
The Woodbury store will be smaller, but Delaporte said he still expects it to become a destination store, with taxidermy displays, animal mounts and aquariums, he said.
The outdoor retailer has concentrated the last couple of years on building the smaller stores, known in company parlance as the "Next Gen" stores.
"We're trying to give Cabela's customers the same great customer service and product while becoming more efficient," Delaporte said.
The Woodbury store, however, is likely to have a less dramatic effect on the broader community than Cabela's had in Rogers. Woodbury already is a well-developed community with plenty of other destination shopping areas. But it will be a welcome addition nonetheless, officials said.
"They'll provide a lot of jobs, and they're a good employer," said City Council Member Julie Ohs. "It should also draw more business to the surrounding businesses. The more the merrier."
Staff writer John Ewoldt contributed to this report. Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788