Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Cabela’s opening
Hundreds of excited customers thronged through the doors of the new Cabela’s store at Mesa Mall on Thursday afternoon.
Some couldn’t contain their excitement to see the new store packed with sporting goods, fishing gear and guns. They were greeted by clapping and handshakes from more than 250 new employees of the store.
“This is heaven,” said Bob Stephens as he put a Rock Chucker Supreme reloading press into his cart.
Stephens wore a specially made shirt for the occasion, which read “Hey Cabela’s — will work for store credit.”
Walter Pfitzner headed straight to the “Gun Library” to check out the Rugers, although he said he was there to look at the fishing gear. “It’s very nice in here,” he said.
Smaller customers were impressed with the working waterfall and the herds of stuffed game. “I really like the mountain lion,” said 5-year-old Keith “Keifer” McCloud.
Stephens and others said they had long anticipated the opening of the store.
David Rulon said he had been looking forward to this day for the past two years, ever since he got wind of the rumor that a Cabela’s may come to town.
He and his wife, Shawnee, were so excited they brought their children, 15 friends, and their barbecue grill so they could tailgate at the event.
“We started planning this about two months ago,” Rulon said with a laugh as he flipped burgers on the grill.
Mike Romero told his wife he was going to be first in line at the new store and he was, arriving just after lunch in anticipation of the 4 p.m. ceremony.
He said he had shopped at a Cabela’s in Indiana and had been impressed with their animals, displays and prices. Thursday, he hoped to find a new pair of shoes.
The crowd danced and sang along to entertainment by singer Jay Ketchum.
Those waiting sweated in the warm afternoon sun, but that didn’t stop Deanna Tuttle from attending the event.
Tuttle, who was pregnant and 12 days past her due date, came because her husband was excited to be there. She joked that Cabela would be a nice name for a baby girl.
“Our store has an appeal for the entire family,” said John Castillo of Cabela’s, “We’re here for the serious sportsman all the way to just entertaining the family.”
Castillo said there were a number of reasons that Cabela’s chose Grand Junction as the location for its first Colorado store.
One of those reasons, he said, was the broad base of pre-existing catalog and online shoppers from Grand Junction, evident from the large turnout for the grand opening event.
Also, he added, having the opportunity to open in Mesa Mall made more financial sense than having to pay for construction costs of building a new store.
“The outdoor culture here in western Colorado is going to fit right in with the culture of Cabela’s,” said Cabela’s Chief Executive Officer Tommy Millner as he addressed the customers waiting to enter.
The store will be celebrating its grand opening throughout the weekend.
There will be workshops by professional sportsmen, and Cabela’s co-founders Dick and Mary Cabela will personally meet and greet customers Saturday and Sunday.
Also there are more than $30,000 in door prizes available.
The store will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.