Noblesville’s $12.5M Cabela’s on track for fall opening

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Construction is underway and Cabela’s is on track to open its Noblesville store in the Saxony development near Hamilton Town Center this fall.

But fans of the outdoor retailer may be surprised by what they see if they’ve been to one of the company’s older stores. The Noblesville location will be one of the company’s “next-generation” stores, at 82,000 square feet about half the size of its older “legacy” models.

Moving to the smaller next-generation format allows the company to build the stores in more heavily populated areas like Noblesville, said Cabela’s spokesman Nathan Borowski.

Next-generation stores are also much more profitable, according to the company’s latest financial report. For the 2014 fiscal year, the 18 next-generation stores that were open for the full year beat the legacy models by 43 percent in sales per square foot, and profit per square foot at the next-gen stores averaged 59 percent better than the legacy stores.

Cabela’s did not receive any economic development incentives from Noblesville for the project, which will cost $12.5 million according to construction permit documents. But the city moved forward an already-planned road project to extend Campus Parkway to 136th Street, to accommodate the store opening.

The $2.5 million road project included drainage improvements and sanitary sewer and is now complete, said Judi Johnson, director of economic development for Noblesville.

Mayor John Ditslear said Cabela’s is already spurring interest from both residents and business prospects.

“I’ve had an overwhelming positive response from citizens and tourists… and Noblesville as a whole will see increased economic development prosperity due to Cabela’s,” Ditslear said in an email.

The Noblesville store will be Cabela’s second in Indiana. The first opened in Hammond, near Chicago, in October 2007. At 185,000 square feet, the Hammond store is a “legacy” store model.

On the outside, the Noblesville store will feature Cabela’s familiar log construction, stonework, wood siding and metal roof. Inside, the store will be designed to give customers an outdoor-like experience, a signature of the next-generation model.

Highlights include museum-quality wildlife displays, a mountain with built-in aquarium, a gun library, bargain cave, indoor archery range and archery tech room, even a fudge shop and a deli.

Cabela’s plans to open 13 new stores this year to add to the 64 stores now operating in the United States and Canada, Borowski said.

In June 2007, the company announced it would build a 125,000-square-foot store as part of a larger retail development on 21 acres at the intersection of Interstate 65 and County Line Road in Greenwood, but the project never happened to the disappointment of Greenwood officials and residents.

The company began transitioning to its smaller next-generation store model in 2008.

Pepper Construction Co. of Indiana is building the Noblesville store. Work is expected to wrap up with a final turnover to Cabela’s in May so the retailer can begin installing fixtures and merchandise, and training workers.

Headquartered in Sydney, Nebraska, Cabela’s employs more than 16,000 people. About 170 full-time, part-time and seasonal workers will be employed at the Noblesville store.

The company will release details on how to apply for those jobs closer to the store’s opening date, spokesman Borowski said.

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