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Retail Review: Cabela’s World’s Foremost Outfitters

Updated on November 25, 2012

Welcome to the World of Cabela's


Museum Mountain

In full view once you enter the store.
In full view once you enter the store. | Source

Sales floor (one view)

A limited view from the second story of the store.  There is plenty more.
A limited view from the second story of the store. There is plenty more. | Source

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Cabela's World's Foremost Outfitters

Cabela’s, World’s Foremost Outfitters, is a big box retailer of outdoor sports. Cabela’s began in 1961 in Nebraska. The owner, Dick Cabela, belonged to a family that owned a furniture store in Chapel, Nebraska. Today Cabela’s is a hugely successful outdoor outfitters enterprise with far reaching enterprises for the outdoor sportsman (and woman.)

There is a department for nearly all outdoor activities in Cabela’s: Fishing, Hunting, Shooting, Boating, and Hiking are just the larger departments. Cabela’s also offers shoes, watches, general clothing for the whole outdoor family as well as a restaurant, country sweets store, kids and adults arcade shooting gallery, and distinctive museums in each location.

Cabela’s is an outdoors person’s paradise in one huge 75,000 to 85, 000 square foot two level big box store. In some locations you may even RV overnight with full hook-ups!

That is what Cabela’s is. It is a big box retail store with a very specific category focus. Each of the categories are deep in merchandise. That is, in the fishing department you will find a huge and specific selection of all things for the fisherman/woman. Cabela’s also offers a well trained staff in that department to aid you in finding all the pieces and parts that make up sport of fishing. Dick Cabela was first drawn to the idea of a sports store due to his love of fishing.

But it takes more than merchandise to make a store successful.

Superior Location and Neighbors

Cabela's, Cracker Barrel, Cardinal Football Stadium and Arizona Coyotes Arena all within view of each other.
Cabela's, Cracker Barrel, Cardinal Football Stadium and Arizona Coyotes Arena all within view of each other. | Source


Cabela’s is located in the USA and Canada. The stores are in locations where there is an abundance of outdoors activities. Cabela's meets the needs of each specific market place.

However, due to the huge and wide draw of the store, the stores need only to be placed regionally in order to draw from their market. The stores rely on their shopper coming from a wide regional area in order to succeed.

This regional emphasis is used to make the store more successful. Each store has a huge statue outside that focuses on that region’s most popular outdoors outfitters activity.

The store will sell items that the traveling sports person might need too, so that is why large ocean fishing items may be sold in a desert. Many people in this area travel to California for sport fishing. Also, this area attracts in excess of eight million tourists a year. Many of these tourists will not have a Cabela’s near them and will buy items to use in their home areas.

The Glendale Arizona location is further enhanced by being on the same lot as a Cracker Barrel and within sight of both the Arizona Cardinal Football Arena and the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey Arena. All are excellent demographic and psychographic customer interest and draw matches. For more on understanding the marketing mix of demographics and psychographics:

Also, just opened in the area is a Tanger Outlet Mall to appeal to the ladies who might be left cold with all these sports venues.

Iconic Elk

The high country in the area supports an elk population.
The high country in the area supports an elk population. | Source

Signs and Recognizable Products

Signs are more than the written word. Signs are also familiar icons.
Signs are more than the written word. Signs are also familiar icons. | Source



Retail Environment

The environment begins when you first drive onto the lot of a Cabela’s. The lot is well designed and appointed. The signage is excellent and the retail merchandising points begin in the signs, décor, and colors.

The retail environment is embellished by the grand entrance. When the customer walks in the store there is a view of the huge tableau of all things outdoors for the outfitter.

The store design is that of a huge lodge somewhere in the great outdoors. The walls are lined with animal heads, dancing salt water fishes, as well as merchandise. The signage is abundant and very easy to follow. Once you enter a specific department it is very easy to become totally absorbed into that particular venue of merchandise.


The employees all look like outdoorsy people. The uniforms make them all look like they just came in from the great outdoors. The employees also know their merchandise and can direct a shopper to most every item in the store.

Experiences with the employees include polite and respectful interactions. The people at the front door who are selling their Cabela’s credit card are very animated and sales oriented.


Branding is the name, design, symbol, feel, or anything that says Cabela’s. Branding encompasses all of the five basic senses.

The look of the store is part of their brand. The hunter's green and the outdoor lodge look is very carefully cultivated through-out the Cabela's shopping experience.

Cabela’s understands their brand and makes all of the pieces of the store and merchandise scream their brand. They offer hats, cups, and all manner of items blazoned with their logo.

Cabela’s does an excellent job of branding.

Museum in Cabela's


Black Bear

Bears are native to the region.
Bears are native to the region. | Source

Ringneck Pheasant



Each Cabela’s store and location caters to the specific market it encompasses. The museum will exhibit specific animals that are indigenous to that area. The museum in some areas is a huge aquarium.

In the Glendale, Arizona store the museum has cougars, black bears, various birds, prairie dogs, deer, and elk among the museum pieces. This and the restaurant add respite and give the shopper time to re-group for more shopping!

Shoe Department


Seasonal Merchandise


All things Cabela’s

Obviously, there are many more things that make-up a successful retailer. The take away here is that one person with retail experience had an idea for a particular type of store. This idea bloomed in a good economic time.

There are many more pieces that make up successful retail: buying, merchandising, pricing, marketing, control systems, market analysis, and the customer. However, following the Cabela’s model will give you a good understanding of how a successful retail model works.

Christmas 2012 at Cabela’s in Glendale, Arizona USA

Cabela’s opened at 5am on the Friday after Thanksgiving. There were over 2,000 customers waiting to take advantage of the 5 hour only Door Buster Sales. These Door Busters included a give away to the first 600 in line. Specials included a 4-bolt rifle, electric smoker, binoculars, camo hoodie, and/or a Cabela’s $100 Gift Card.

Cabela’s World’s Foremost Outfitters rates as one of the top big box retailers.

Cabela's Location

A marker9380 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale, AZ -
9380 W Glendale Ave, Glendale, AZ 85305, USA
get directions


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    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 4 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      too funny gaplumber! When I need to buy my hubby a is the place me to go too!

    • gaplumber profile image

      gaplumber 4 years ago

      I could just live there.