Outdoor retailer to open first Portland-area store next year

Cabela's announced Thursday it would be opening its first Portland-area store in Tualatin. The retail giant had long been suspected of joining the future Nyberg Rivers shopping center.It’s official: Cabela’s is coming to Tualatin.

The rumors — and a winking confirmation from Nyberg Rivers development head Fred Bruning last month — were confirmed by the outdoor retailer on Thursday.

It is a profitable get for the city of Tualatin: The Nebraska-based hunting and fishing store made the announcement the same day it reported a jaw-dropping 28.7 percent increase in total revenue. According to its first quarter report, Cabela’s total revenue during that period was $802.5 million. In-store sales accounted for 41 percent, or $486.7 million — good news for a city preparing to welcome the retailer as the anchor of the 307,000-square-foot retail development at 7655 S.W. Nyberg Road.

At 100,000 square feet, the store will take up nearly a third of the Nyberg Rivers development’s total retail space. It will be located on the site of the former Kmart.

Read Cabela's announcement here

The fast-expanding retailer currently boasts 44 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Its only other Oregon location, in Springfield, is about half the size of the planned Tualatin location.

Widely considered a "destination store," the hunting and fishing retailer will anchor a development that will doubtless stimulate the local economy and which will, according to Bruning, add as many as 1,500 additional part-time and full-time jobs.

But Nyberg Rivers is also proving to be a transformative project of a different kind: Initial concept plans submitted to the city in February quietly demonstrated that the shopping center would encompass not only the former Kmart site, but much of the surrounding area, including the current home of the much-maligned Jiggles strip club, whose lit sign has long been synonymous with the gateway of Tualatin.

Tommy Millner, Cabela’s chief executive officer, echoed Bruning’s optimism that the development as a whole would complement the natural landscape of the surrounding area.

“Oregon is full of people who live the Cabela’s lifestyle and enjoy outdoor recreation, which makes this a perfect match,” Millner said. “We’ve enjoyed great success at the Springfield location thanks to the support of our many loyal customers across the region, and we hope for much of the same in Tualatin.”

Mayor Lou Ogden welcomed the announcement.

“Cabela's creates an exciting attraction in our city both in terms of a premier outdoor sporting retail destination and as a perfect integration with our Tualatin River natural area," he said.

Tualatin’s is one of 14 Cabela’s stores on deck to open by late 2014. The store will include everything from a fudge shop to a gun library, Cabela’s confirmed, as well as an indoor archery range.

Cabela’s profits outpaced its own projections and are largely to do with record surges in firearm sales over the past four months.

There have been record firearms sales nationwide in the wake of the Dec. 11, 2012, Clackamas Town Center shooting and the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Last week’s hotly debated and ultimately unsuccessful overhaul of U.S. gun control laws likely contributed to fears that new legislation would make firearms more difficult to attain.

Data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed a distinct increase in gun sales this year. Background checks, which indicate gun sales, increased nearly 28 percent in Oregon.

Cabela’s reported that when sales of firearms and ammunition were excluded, the company still outperformed competitor stores’ average profit increases of 9 percent.

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