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Cabela's: Marketing to the Consumer Who Hates to Shop

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Some marketers would be happy just to get "I hate to shop" consumers into their stores. But Cabela's, the

sporting goods retailer, doesn't draw only a few reluctant-and mostly male-shoppers from a few miles

away into its eight stores. It has made those stores into block-buster destinations around the country.

The Michigan store, for example, is the largest tourist attraction in the state. Six million people visit

every year, more than visited New York City to shop in a typical year. The Cabela's store in Minnesota is

second only to the Mall of America for tourist-drawing power in that state. The Sidney, Nebraska, store

has revitalized the once-depressed town of 6,000, where not even Wal-Mart has opened an outlet. About

150 miles from Denver, Sidney now boasts new restaurants, hotels, and other business that cater to

Cabela's visitors and shoppers, and it has 200 more jobs than residents. It's also Nebraska's secondlargest

tourist attraction. "The economic-development impact of Cabela's is off the Charts," says Sidney

city manager.

Cabela's began as a catalog marketer in 1961 and opened its first retail store, in Sidney, 30 years

later. At the time, says president Jim Cabela, "We didn't expect the store to make any money." Jim and

his brother company chairman Dick Cabela, intended the store merely to showcase the catalog's decoys,

lures, lines, reels boots, camouflage, dog shoes, tents, boats, fishing vests, archery bows, ammunition,

and every other kind of hunting and fishing equipment an outdoorsman would want, along with dozens

and dozens of new, used, and antique guns. With that purpose in mind, they spent lavishly on furnishing

the retail outlet, covering the selling floor with museum-caliber wildlife displays and about 400 stuffed

trophies worth tens of thousand of dollars, arrayed in realistic action poses amid authentically decorated

setting. Four massive aquariums, holding 8,000gal-lons apiece, showcase a variety of freshwater fish.

There was even a kennel and a corral for the horses and dogs of hunters who dropped by to shop while





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