When Cabela’s opens the doors of its two new Denver-area stores this August, Colorado Springs residents will be able to trim 200 miles from their trek to the retail chain’s closest outposts.
The outdoors merchandiser announced last year the implementation of a different business model for the pair of new locations — a 110,000 square-foot store in Lone Tree, beside Interstate 25 just 35 miles north of the Air Force Academy, and a 90,000 square-foot location in Thornton, on the north end of the metro area — which would make Denver the first market in the company’s 50-year-plus history to welcome two of the retail destinations at once.
The nearest location for residents of the Pikes Peak region has been nearly 250 miles north at the Cabela’s corporate headquarters in Sidney, Neb. But that will change with the simultaneous grand opening on Aug. 15.
The “World’s Foremost Outfitter” will not only implement a new marketing strategy with the Lone Tree and Thornton locations, but the new stores will also feature new floor plans, unique regional decor, a full array of sporting goods — and they are creating hundreds of new jobs.
Nathan Borowski, a communications specialist for Cabela’s, said that the company has already hired more than 400 employees to work at the Denver stores.
Borowski said that the stores are designed with a “next-generation layout that maximizes floor space and gives customers the best displays, museum-quality animal mounts including native game and other wildlife … so every store tends to be unique depending on the geo where it is located.”
The larger Lone Tree site will feature amenities including two 8,000-gallon aquariums — one warm and one cold — stocked with native fish, an indoor archery range, bicycle racks and a hiking trail and a “conservation mountain,” populated with regional taxidermy posed against a painted mural of Pikes Peak.
Karen Koons, general manager of the Lone Tree location, said there will be some merchandise at her store that you won’t find anywhere else, and that she is excited to share such things with residents of the surrounding region.
“We’re just very excited to be a part of the community and share our love of the outdoors with others,” she said. “The big thing behind Cabela’s is we sell a lot of great merchandise so that outdoors enthusiasts can be safe and enjoy the outdoors, but one other thing that we do very well is we like to educate others and give them an experience.”
Koons said that the view from the Lone Tree store, from which you can see downtown Denver’s skyline and much of the Front Range, is another feature that you will not find at any other Cabela’s.
Borowski said that the reason Cabela’s decided to open the two stores within 30 miles of each other was to cater to the “thousands of loyal customers in Colorado and the Front Range area that have supported us through our catalog, website and existing Grand Junction and Sidney stores.”
This sentiment was also expressed by Cabela’s CEO Tommy Millner in an April 18, 2012 press release announcing the projects: “Because of the longstanding loyalty of our customers in the Centennial State, the abundance of outdoor opportunities across the region and Denver’s proximity to Cabela’s headquarters, it’s the perfect situation to open two stores. This is the first time we’ve simultaneously announced two stores in the same metropolitan area so that says a lot about how we feel about the Denver area. It’s a landmark day.”
Borowski said that the management at Cabela’s had explored other possible locales before settling on the current model. In 2004, the company announced plans to open a store in Wheat Ridge, a Denver suburb, but he said that the company ultimately decided to take a fresh approach with the new market.
“We’ve been looking into Colorado and the Front Range for a while now, and we’ve really been wanting to give Colorado and our customers the retail experience they deserve with two stores that are centrally located,” he said.
Cabela’s currently operates 44 stores in the United States and has plans to open an additional 16 within the next two years, including the two in Colorado.
While he declined to comment on the cost of the projects, Borowski did say that the two were carefully planned to maximize the interests of the company as well as the community.
“Cabela’s primary focus is to find and secure economically viable, quality locations consistent with our ‘Next Gen’ strategy, focusing on locations in strong or emerging regional retail markets with strong visibility and access,” Borowski said. “Each site must be financially viable and every deal is structured differently, based on many variables.”