“Cabela’s can go to any city in America, and they decided to come to Wichita, America,” says George Laham, president of Laham Development, the Regency Lakes developer.
“That says a lot about Wichita.”
Construction on the 80,000-square-foot store will start this summer.
“Competition is good for everybody,” says Todd Barker, manager of competing Gander Mountain at downtown’s WaterWalk development.
“We’ll keep doing what we’re doing,” Barker says of Gander Mountain, which is one of the chain’s highest-producing stores.
Gander Mountain opened at WaterWalk in 2005 after an effort to lure Bass Pro Shops fell apart over public financing of the project.
City Council member Sue Schlapp was involved in trying to lure Bass Pro.
“I am a person who believes downtown is your center,” she says.
Still, Regency Lakes is in her district, and she’s thrilled Cabela’s is going there.
“Cabela’s is a fabulous attraction,” Schlapp says. “It’s a wonderful thing.”
She doesn’t quibble with the chain’s selection of northeast Wichita over downtown.
“If they feel that that’s a better place for them . . . who am I to tell them something different?”
Cabela’s, which was represented by Brad Saville of Landmark Commercial Real Estate, will locate along K-96 north of the 20,000-square-foot World Market at Regency Lakes. There will be room for a 50,000-square-foot retailer between the stores.
Regency Lakes opened in 2005 with a 175,000-square-foot SuperTarget.
World Market opened the following year.
“Progress has been very steady in spite of . . . economic times,” Laham says.
Still, he says, Cabela’s “will change the landscape of Regency Lakes.”
In addition to the 50,000-square-foot space next to where Cabela’s will go, there are two pad sites remaining along Greenwich for either retail or restaurant use and a 15,000-square-foot retail center at the corner of 21st and Greenwich.
The Cabela’s announcement will help fill those vacancies.
“It will change the direction of retail in northeast Wichita,” Laham says.
He says he designed Regency Lakes to be a regional retail center and calls Cabela’s “a major draw.”
The retailer’s approximately 190,000-square-foot Kansas City, Kan., store is one of the state’s leading tourist attractions.
Go Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau president and CEO John Rolfe expects the same for the Wichita Cabela’s.
“It’s going to be a great addition for our local residents but also certainly . . . a tourism draw,” he says.
“It would be great to have another venue such as a Cabela’s downtown, but we’re certainly glad to see it coming into our city.”
The Regency Lakes Cabela’s will have the store’s traditional design, with log construction, wood siding, stonework and a metal roof. A glass storefront will allow customers to see a lot of the store’s interior as they approach.
Inside, customers will be immersed in the outdoors with trophy animal mounts and conservation-themed wildlife displays.
“Kansans are no strangers to Cabela’s or the outdoors,” Cabela’s CEO Tommy Millner said in a statement. “It’s because of their loyalty to our brand and their passion for sports like hunting, fishing and camping that we’re able to build another store in the Sunflower State.”
The chain, which sells thousands of products related to fishing, hunting, camping, boating, hiking and wildlife-watching, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
There are 31 Cabela’s stores across the United States and Canada and five more, including Wichita, in the works.
John Parsons, owner of Parsons Taxidermy in Derby, designs a line of functional art products for Cabela’s and is thrilled the retailer is coming to Wichita.
“It’s great news for anyone who likes the outdoors and hunting and fishing, that’s for darn sure,” he says. When Parsons told his employees the news, he says, “They just threw up their arms and said, ‘Outstanding!’