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Cabela's coming to Grandville

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:21 PM

Their billboards around West Michigan proclaim that "We Got One."

That prize catch for the region is Cabela's, one of the most popular outdoors retailers in North America, with its stores and catalogs specializing in hunting, fishing and camping equipment and apparel.

But a sneak peak inside at the newest location on the east end of the Rivertown Mall retail corridor showcases so much more. The 88,000 square-foot facility is filled corner to corner with anything under the sun that appeals to activities in the great outdoors, from 2014 bass boats and a boat service department, kayaks and canoes, venison meat grinders and slicers, footwear and brand-name clothing, boxes and boxes of ammo, and an impressive glass-case gun library.

For more photos from the new Grandville store, click here.

"We have an 1865 Spencer (rifle), which is the gun that helped end the Civil War," said the store's marketing manager, Randy Rice.

It's not just a store, it's an outdoorsman's amusement park, with a live archery range nestled on the side of a 6,000-gallon aquarium of rainbow trout and other Michigan fish, along with hundreds of stuffed wild game animals perched across the building.

The Grandville location will be the 43rd Cabela's to open across North America, and Rice said the company has plans to open a total of 12 throughout 2013-14.

"These are what we call the "Next Generation" stores," he said. "They're not as large as our Dundee location, which is 215,000 square feet, but it's similar in size to the one that just opened in Columbus, Ohio. There's also one in Saginaw, which is an outpost store and that's 44,000 square feet."

Rice said Cabela's is expecting around $2.5 million in sales at the Grandville location during the first weekend alone, with the grand opening set for Thursday at 11 a.m.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see some people camp out (the night before), so they can be the first in line," he said. "On the opening day, we're expecting there will be close to 5,000 people waiting to get in at some point."

The store will employ approximately 300 full-time and part-time employees, and they'll have to be shuttled in on a bus from a near-by church during the opening days, simply because of an expected lack of parking.

The store will be featuring several special guests during its grand-opening celebration, including the star of the Discovery Channel show "Survivorman," Les Stroud. He'll sign autographs and give a survival presentation on Saturday. Also in attendance Saturday is another outdoors TV personality and author, West Michigan native Steven Rinella.

Rice said Cabela's settled on the Grandville location after researching the volume of past customers in the area.

"What they found was a heavy amount of customers from West Michigan and northern Michigan," he said. "They look at a 150-mile radius and with people willing to travel to shop here, it obviously services a large area."

Although Cabela's has carried a reputation as a male-friendly shopping experience, Rice said they strive to appeal to families. There's women's and children's clothing departments, even pink compound bows for the female hunter.

"There's something for everyone," Rice said. "If you never shot a bow in your life, you can walk right into our archery department and we'll have an expect there to get you started. We take pride in hiring the right people for each department."   

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