Just a little more than a year after announcing plans to build its first New York store in Cheektowaga, Cabela’s has announced its grand opening date. The store will open at 11 a.m. Aug. 7 – about six weeks ahead of schedule.
Cabela’s quick turnaround cuts a stark contrast to the nine-year saga in which Buffalo engaged Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s biggest competitor. After dragging its feet for nearly a decade, Bass Pro pulled out of plans to build a megastore on Buffalo’s waterfront three years ago, despite the promise of $66 million in public subsidies.
Unlike Bass Pro, which sought major government subsidies, Cabela’s did not seek or receive tax breaks or other government incentives.
The 88,000-square-foot Cabela’s store will be located in the former Wegmans supermarket at the southeast corner of the Thruway and Walden Avenue, adjacent to Walden Galleria.
The store will be about a third of the size of its giant Hamburg, Pa., store. The smaller stores are part of the company’s next-generation concept, which is designed to fit Cabela’s stores into retail plazas more easily.
But even at the smaller scale, the store will be outfitted with wildlife displays, a giant replica of a mountain and will have an indoor archery range, a “bargain cave,” a boat shop, a deli and a fudge shop. A “gun library” will house wooden display cases of new and used firearms, antique and collectible guns for sale or trade.
Cabela’s has cited Western New York’s large hunting and fishing community as a big factor in choosing to locate here, saying it already does strong business in the region via its catalog and online store. Indeed, Erie County has the highest number of licensed hunters and fishermen in New York State, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Another draw is the regular influx of Canadian shoppers and regional tourists drawn to the nearby Walden Galleria.
Cabela’s has hired 225 part-time and full-time workers to staff the store.
“This is going to be a great thing for the entire community,” said Cheektowaga Supervisor Mary Holtz. “This will bring people from Pennsylvania and all over New York.”
Walden Village, the shopping plaza in which it sits, will be renamed Cabela’s Crossing. In April 2015, a 107-room Home2 Suites by Hilton extended-stay hotel is also scheduled to open on the western tip of the plaza between the Burlington Coat Factory store and the Thruway. That hotel is currently under construction.
Nebraska-based Cabela’s has 57 stores across North America, with plans to open 20 more by 2016.
Bass Pro is planning a 145,000-square-foot Bass Pro Outdoor World store outside Rochester by 2016, complete with a family restaurant and bowling center. It has smaller Bass Pro Outpost stores in Utica, Auburn and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.