Thursday, May 31, 2007

Summit and Medina Counties Trying to Hook Cabela's

Call it Destination Outdoor Retailer, Part 2.

I've heard rumors that Cabela's might be coming to the area under a deal similar to that proposed to bring Bass Pro to Akron. The PD finally broke the story today. Medina and Summit Counties are each putting together deals to lure Cabela's to set up shop. Medina's is an impact facilities deal similar to the offer to Bass Pro in exchange for opening a store in Brunswick.

Summit on the other hand is looking to "put together a deal that would create a "synergy" between a proposed domed soccer stadium and a Cabela's store. Part of the venture could include a county tax on cigarettes and alcohol that would raise $4 million for the stadium and pour $1 million into county arts groups."

Wait a minute.

Synergies between a domed soccer stadium and an outdoor sports retailer? Aside from the fact that your best bet to find them on TV is ESPN2, soccer has little in common with hook and bullet sports. The next time I see a minivan with a deer carcass lashed to the top will be the first. Do they think people will attend soccer matches then, as long as they are in the neighborhood, go shopping for duck blinds?

In the Topix comments section to the quickie story the ABJ posted today, one commenter says that he has travelled to Michigan to shop at Cabela's -- the quality of the gear is that much better than the big boxes around here. I posted a couple open questions in a comment but, since I wasnt' actively insulting anyone's intelligence, manhood or mother, wasn't made part of the discussion. So I will post them here.

Obvious question: will this affect Bass Pro wanting to build here?

Less obvious question: Since half the customers must come from more than 100 miles away to fall under the "impact facility" law, would two facilities built a county or less apart affect that evaluation? And in what direction?

Finally, some notes about the Beacon Journal's coverage of the story. As I said, the rumor has been circulating. Yesterday, the ABJ published an editorial about the Bass Pro dealer that included the following paragraph:

    Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's (another giant outdoor retailer) know their way around local government. The companies have received ample tax breaks and other public subsidies in developing locations elsewhere across the country. Bass would do so in this instance, Heydorn and her colleagues approving a decade of relief from the county sales tax. If the County Council moved quickly, the early details suggest it hardly gave away the store, so to speak, the incentive aimed, appropriately, at a worn urban area.
Just happened to mention Cabela's. Did the ABJ have wind of the Cabela's deal? I've asked and gotten no reply. Regardless, the PD owned them on the story. Reading between the lines, it looks like the PD figured out what the Medina Co. Commissioners were set to do in their meeting scheduled for today. ABJ, as I said, threw a story up on so quickly the headline initially spelled "Cabela's" with two "L's" (and it still looks that way on Topix as of 11:00 Thursday.)

I want to believe that ABJ/ can run with their hyper-local model and their current post-purge staffing levels. I really want to believe it. I'm just not seeing it.


Jason Haas said...

As to question #1, both retailers share a few larger urban areas (Phoenix and Dallas-Ft. Worth come to mind). Can that work here? I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

Interesting!! Cabelas provides top quality of hunting, fishing and outdoor stuff...