Under Construction: Cabela’s future home undergoes total transformation
Cabela’s bills itself as the world’s largest direct marketer of hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor merchandise. In Western Colorado, where it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t participate in outdoor activities, the opening of the new Cabela’s store promises to be a major event for locals and visitors.
“It’s lingerie for fishermen,” explains Jerry Brake, with CDC, the subcontractor working for Pro Build to construct the cedar beams and log work inside and outside the store.
“They had 8,000 people at the last grand opening of a new Cabela’s store,” says Dave Hall, project manager with Shaw Construction, the general contractor for the store. “There’s a cult following of people who attend every grand opening.”
Cabela’s routinely sends out a mass mailing in a 500-mile radius, inviting mail-order customers to a private shopping day prior to the grand opening.
“This is the most high-profile job in town,” says Hall, adding that he hasn’t worked on such a quick job and tight schedule in 10 years.
“This is probably the fastest track job we’ve done in Grand Junction,” he says.
Shaw started their work on the project on Jan. 12, after learning they’d been awarded the contract on Jan. 9. They will hand the store over to Cabela’s in early April, giving the company 91 days from start to finish, or 65 work days, if the guys doing construction actually worked just five days a week. But on a $2 million, high-profile, do-or-die deadline project like the Cabela’s remodel, most of the tradesmen are working at least six days a week.
Several key personnel from Shaw had to fly to Sidney, Neb., to Cabela’s headquarters before the contract was awarded. Cabela’s wanted to make sure the general contractors who were in the final consideration for the job were familiar with the Cabela’s look and expectations. Certain features in a Cabela’s store are universal, like the fudge shop, the taxidermy specimens and the bargain cave. Others are distinct, like the landscape that will cover a portion of the wall near the entrance with a mural depicting famous images of the Western Slope or the aquariums that are features of larger stores.
One of the first tasks facing Shaw when they started the project was digging more than half a mile of concrete trenches to run new electric lines. In addition to the new electric lines, the company also installed new mechanical and ductwork systems, new plumbing, and new drywall. The new flooring should be installed this week. The job led to a new partnership between a major supplier and the general contractor.
“Pro Build came to us with a package,” says Hall. “They submitted a bid for the logs, interior trim and the installation. We had no history with Pro Build; it was really a leap of faith.”
Pro Build’s strong financial backing made them an attractive choice, and their one-stop convenience made it a good choice on such a tight schedule.
Customers can see some of the large exterior logs as they’re installed over the exterior entrance on the south side of the store. They’ll have to wait for the grand opening to see the interior log work and the other unique design features that make shopping at Cabela’s such a unique experience.
The indoor archery range will enable shoppers to try out bows before purchase. The range will be 55 feet long, with impact resistant panels on the walls and the ceiling to prevent arrows from penetrating.
Expect the bargain cave to look like a cave, with perhaps a few cave-dwelling critters perched nearby. Watch out for the mountain lion ready to leap or the life-like bear. The rock feature near the mall entrance will include a water feature designed to bring out the inner fisherman in everyone.
The store features an extensive sound system, allowing every area to have its own specific sound to match the merchandise. Expect to hear running water near the fly-fishing merchandise, perhaps the sound of coyotes or the wind blowing through the trees near the camping gear.
The east and west exteriors also have their share of decorative cedar logs, but the entrances on the sides have been closed. The store will have two large display windows where the entrances used to be, but only one exterior entrance.
“I don’t think this project could have been done in this time frame or price two years ago,” says Hall.
Maybe in other places, the opening of a Macy’s would be a bigger draw, but in Western Colorado, Cabela’s is sure to capture the attention and the shopping dollars of both residents and visitors.