Cabela’s hopes to lure sportsmen to mall

Sporting-goods giant Cabela’s will open a 75,000-square-foot store next spring in the former Mervyn’s store at Mesa Mall.

The addition will bolster Grand Junction’s position as a regional center, said Ann Driggers, president and CEO of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, which worked with Cabela’s, providing information and advice.

“We definitely see it as a huge asset to the people of the West Slope and eastern Utah,” Driggers said. “It really builds on our regional hub position.”

Cabela’s will take possession of the former Mervyn’s early next month and is planning to open the new store in the spring, officials said.

The Mervyn’s location has been largely vacant for the past two years.

Cabela’s is headquartered in Sidney, Neb., and bills itself as the world’s largest direct marketer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise.

“Colorado’s Western Slope is a prime location for a variety of outdoor activities, including world-class hunting and fishing, and Grand Junction is the gateway to everything Colorado offers,” Tommy Millner, Cabela’s CEO, said in a statement. “The area’s residents, as well as visitors to the region, are people who passionately enjoy their outdoor heritage.”

Cabela’s opening can’t come soon enough for Jackie Laumann and Beth Zanski, owners of Culinary Corner, which fronts on the hall leading to the old Mervyn’s. Today the space is occupied by the Halloween Bootique.

“I wanted (a retailer) that was not already on the West Slope,” Zanski said, because a business new to the area could draw shoppers from places such as Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Montrose, towns that have built shopping centers and landed national retailers in recent years.

Shoppers whom they once could expect to see regularly no longer frequent the mall, something they have noticed particularly in Saturday traffic, Laumann and Zanski said.

“Maybe some of those folks will start coming back,” Zanski said.

Cabela’s occupies the same market niche as Sportsman’s Warehouse, 2464 U.S. Highway 6&50, in the Grand Mesa Center east of the mall.

Officials with Sportsman’s Warehouse didn’t return phone calls immediately. The parent company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August after shedding several stores and getting an infusion of cash from a California investment company.

The ripple effect from Cabela’s could spread beyond the mall, Driggers said.

“More people will come here because of Cabela’s, and then more people will shop in more locations across the community,” Driggers said.

The economic partnership acted only as a facilitator and did not offer any incentives to attract the company, she said.

Mesa Mall, which is owned by The Macerich Co., a real estate investment trust, is a “perfect fit” for Cabela’s, said Randy Brant, executive vice president of real estate for Macerich. “We hope this is the first of many opportunities to partner with Cabela’s to bring this strong brand to great real estate in communities we serve across the country.”

Cabela’s (NYSE: CAB) on Tuesday reported third-quarter earnings of $0.28, 10 cents more than analysts’ estimates of $0.18. Revenue for the quarter was $624.3 million, which compares to the estimate of $622.95 million.

Same-store sales rose 3.5 percent in the third quarter, the company said.


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