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Cabela's confirms store in northwest Oklahoma City

Outdoor retailer expects to open 80,000-square-foot store at the Kilpatrick Turnpike and Western Avenue in the fall of 2015.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: June 4, 2014 at 9:41 pm •  Published: June 5, 2014

Outdoor wildlife retailer Cabela’s confirmed Wednesday it will open a store in Oklahoma City in the new Chisholm Creek shopping center being developed at the Kilpatrick Turnpike and Western Avenue.

The store, at 80,000 square feet, is smaller than the 90,000 to 98,000 square feet indicated in an application to the city for a $3.5 million incentives package yet to be approved by the Oklahoma City Council. The agreement is based on 1.2 percent performance of the store’s sales.

Construction on Cabela’s first Oklahoma location is scheduled to begin later this year and the company anticipates a fall 2015 opening.

“Cabela’s couldn’t be more excited to announce our first Oklahoma location,” Cabela’s CEO Tommy Millner said. “Customers across Oklahoma have been asking us to bring a Cabela’s store to the state for years and we look forward to bringing them the extraordinary Cabela’s experience.”

The store will employ about 180 full-time and part-time employees, with most coming from Oklahoma City and the surrounding area. It will be built in Cabela’s next-generation layout, designed to surround customers in an outdoorlike experience with a large mountain replica and museum-quality wildlife displays.

In addition to thousands of quality outdoor products, the store will include an indoor archery range and archery tech room, deli, fudge shop, gun library and “Bargain Cave.” The store also will include a full-service boat shop and a comprehensive selection of wildlife and land management products, including tractors, attachments and implements.

Cabela’s has 50 stores in the United States and is in the midst of an expansion that includes opening 14 stores this year and 13 to 15 stores each year “for the next few years.” The Nebraska retailer has reported double-digit percentage increases in sales over the past several years.

Last August, the chain opened two locations on the same day in the Denver metro, drawing an estimated 5,000 shoppers to each of the 110,000-square-foot megastores.

City incentives?

A spokesman for the chain Wednesday declined to comment on whether the store would be built only if the incentives package is approved by the city. The city council will be asked Tuesday to allow city staff to negotiate an incentives agreement. A presentation on the project and vote on the incentives is set for the June 17 meeting of the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust with a city council vote scheduled for July 1.

A report by Brent Bryant, the city’s economic development manager, forecasts the store will generate $40 million to $50 million in annual sales. Bryant said that while the store is 10,000 to 18,000 square feet smaller than previously expected, he does not expect that to change the store to fall short of the sales projections.

“If that becomes the case, they may not be able to recoup the incentive we’ve offered them,” Bryant said. “It’s very stringent. It’s 1.2 percent of sales. And if sales are at $30 million, it will be very tight for them to get the $3.5 million over the 10-year-period. They would barely get there. And their goal is to get there in six to seven years.”

“It’s a performance-based incentive, based on 1.2 percent of their sales,” Bryant said. “And at the end of the day, they get incentivized on their performance. If they hit a home run, they get paid sooner. It expands our sales tax base and it reduces the potential of sales tax leakage to areas outside the city.”

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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