It's official. Cabela's, known as the "World's Foremost Outfitter" and one of America's (especially Minnesotan's) favorite outdoor merchandise retailer has sealed the deal to open it's fourth store in Minnesota. The company currently has locations in Rogers (185,000 sqf), Owatonna (185,000 sqf), and East Grand Forks (60,000 sqf).
The newest store will be opening in Woodbury, MN, an eastern Minneapolis / St. Paul suburb that is about 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis. It's a thriving suburb that has experience unprecedented growth in both the commercial and residential sectors in the past five years (even through the recession). Cabela's will begin construction in the fall on a brand new, 85,000 sqf store in the Tamarack Village retail center (Similar to the style of Stone Ridge Shopping center in Duluth). The new store is expected to open in fall of 2014 and will employ 185 part and full time workers.
Now how in the world does this relate to retail development in Duluth? Well, many of you might have forgotten that just four years ago Cabela's was scouting the area for a new store. The original areas being scouted beginning in 2008 included Duluth, Cloquet, Carleton, and Esko. However, in 2010 the search for a new location came to a close and Cabela's put their northern Minnesota expansion plans on "hold."
What Woodbury signifies is that Cabela's has not given up on Minnesota, obviously. They already have three extremely successful stores here and a market that is overflowing with their ideal customer. Now that they have chosen to open another store in the Twin Cities market (we don't really count Owatonna as a Twin Cities store as some sources do because of the distance) it most likely means that they have fulfilled their southern and central Minnesota requirements. As Cabela's is a "destination" store, it would be very odd for them to open a third location in the Twin Cities area as it would almost over saturate the market. You have the Rogers store in the northwestern subrubs and now you will have the Woodbury location in the southeastern suburbs. For southern Minnesota you have the Owatonna store and for Northwestern Minnesota/Eastern North Dakota you have the East Grand Forks location. Naturally, what area is left uncovered? The Northeastern area (a.k.a the Duluth area). Each location in Minnesota makes it so that in order to reach a Cabela's from the state border, one does not need to travel in excess of 250 miles. The only hole is the Duluth area (and a portion of Southern Minnesota), which happens to be the home of Cabela's ideal customers.
So long story short, this newest announcement of another Cabela's location in our minds is extremely good news for Duluth. We feel that it means that Cabela's has continued to review Minnesota for growth and has continued to secure and identify the areas needed for expansion. We do not feel that this has killed the deal for Duluth to have a location in the future, rather we feel that it has solidified it.
So our parting words... Don't be surprised in the next two years if talk starts to sprout up again on a new Cabela's location opening in the Northland. And, oh yeah, expect a big store too.