Cabela's announces official plans for Missoula branch


MISSOULA, Mont. - Cabela's Incorporated, which operates outdoor stores around the United States, has officially announced plans for a "Cabela's Outpost" branch in Missoula. According to a press release, the store will be roughly 42,000 square feet, and is estimated to open in the summer of 2014.

Staff say construction will begin in the fall, and the store will employ roughly 90 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees. Staff say the majority of the employees would come from the Missoula area.

Thursday's announcement confirms past reports that the branch will be located at the site of the old Kmart building on Brooks Street. That structure will be razed.

The first Cabela's Outpost store opened in 2012, in Washington state.

"Missoula has a proud tradition of outdoor recreation and is full of sportsmen and women who live the Cabela's lifestyle," said Tommy Millner, Cabela's Chief Executive Officer, in a press release sent to NBC Montana. "The support from our loyal customers in Billings, along with the growing excitement around our recent announcement to open a store in Kalispell, made it an easy decision to extend the Cabela's retail footprint to Missoula."

The announcement has ignited a debate about the pros and cons of big box stores in Missoula.

"I'm not overly concerned as far as what we're doing, but as far as the big picture goes, there's only so much of the pie and every store that comes in takes some of that pie away," said Tobey McGuirl, owner of Outdoor Supply and Rental.

"For the small business aspect, they're not great because they have the ability to offer things, different things, a wider array of things for sometimes discounted prices whereas that small store can't necessarily do those discounts. On the other end of it, as far as employment goes, you know, that is often times a plus," said Brandon Salayi, a manger at the Trailhead outdoor store in Downtown Missoula.