Outdoor recreation retail giant Cabela's announced Thursday that it expects to open its first store in Alaska in 2014. A press release from the company said construction of the new store in South Anchorage will begin in 2013.
A spokesman said the store would be located "near the intersection of C St. and 104th Ave." but could not be more specific.
The company expects to hire around 200 full- and part-time employees for the store.
Based in Sidney, Neb., Cabela's bills itself as "the world's largest direct marketer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise." Products range from archery supplies to boots, boats and ATVs. It currently operates 37 stores in the United States and Canada and has seven more scheduled to open next year. It conducts a robust off-site business over the Internet and through its catalogs, found on many tables in rural Alaska.
The Anchorage store will have features familiar to customers who have visited the chain's biggest outlets. It will include a 5,575-gallon aquarium section with live sport fish species, an elegant "Gun Library" with rare, antique and very expensive firearms, numerous wildlife displays and an indoor "mountain" populated with mounted trophy game animals.
Store aquariums are usually stocked with fish local to the area, said Cabela's spokesman Wes Remmer. But they may be limited to freshwater species. "Trout is a likely bet in Alaska," he said, "and maybe Dolly Varden."
The size of the Anchorage store, 100,000 square feet, "is right in range with most of the stores we're building now, 80,000 to 100,000 square feet," Remmer said. That's larger than the headquarters store in Sidney but smaller than the biggest emporiums in the chain, which exceed 200,000 square feet.
The exterior will have a large glass front and feature the log construction, stonework, wood siding and green metal roofing of other stores in the chain.
"It's the traditional model," Remmer said. "Our stores have the same look and feel, but each has its own twist."
In several markets, Cabela's is not just a retail outlet but a tourist attraction, accommodating customers who want to camp out or park their recreational vehicles at the site.
As of Thursday morning, Remmer wasn't sure whether those arrangements would be available at the Anchorage outlet. Nor could he say whether the store would have a power sports division with boats and snowmachines. Those details had yet to be worked out, he said.
But it will include a cafe and candy shop as well as men's and women's clothing, furniture and even jewelry, Remmer said.
By MIKE DUNHAM
Anchorage Daily News