Facts about the Cabela's cabal
How to become a corporate welfare queen for fun and profit


Cabela's track record around the country

Some people might disagree that Cabela's is good for local business. A survey in Minnesota showed that one of the stores there not only didn’t seem to have the traffic Cabela’s claimed, but also the majority of the traffic was not from out of state.

Granted, the survey was done by a representative of Gander Mountain, another outdoor retailer which builds without tax incentives and is actively lobbying against the types of tax giveaways which Cabela’s gets, including not having to pay sales taxes on Internet and catalog sales.

Most of the governments cannot clearly state whether there has been the types of increases which Cabela’s and their proponents claim even though most of them accept Cabela’s figures at face value.

They further claim the large influx of tourists who come to their stores will travel on into town and provide even more tourist dollars to other local merchants.

While this sounds good it does not carry over in most instances, as is clearly recognized by the businesses of Hamberg, Penn., where while they do not question the number of people going to Cabela’s, they haven’t seen much income into the local economy.

Dundee, Mich., saw only a one percent increase in business notwithstanding a large influx of tourist traffic into Cabela’s.

Many of their new enterprises are built in developments where they are supported by hotels, gas stations restaurants etc, so visitors don’t have to travel into town to get these necessities, much like the store built in La Vista, Neb.

They will also tell you that they will bring numerous high paying jobs into the area:

About 40 percent of the jobs they offer are full time – including the management positions. In Dundee, Mich, that was based on 600 jobs.

The jobs are not historically "high paying" jobs, and more often than not, do not include benefits, especially medical which according to is not one of the benefits provided by Cabela’s. It is also curious how they tend to pay people over 45 and females considerably less for doing the same job.

Texas does it right: Cabela's refunds tax breaks for breaking job creation promises
(The Free Press 6-27-2007)

See Gender Ratings and Age Ratings.

Cabela's promised 300 new jobs paying $10 to $12 per hour to city fathers in Richfield, Mich., in 2005.

They make claims about the number of jobs they will create but often fail to follow through.

In Texas, when they failed to create the promised number of jobs, the state sought a refund of incentives the state had paid.

It is also not a new thing they have issues with contractors on the jobs, as in Lacey, Wash., where they hired a construction company which had a record of paying substandard wages and benefits.

A check of the contractors on all the stores they have built "generally" shows they have used contractors who are not from the areas providing the incentives.

Other states have revolted against Cabela’s insistence they be exempted from state sales tax.

In Idaho, the legislature has taken up the fight, as the state tax commission there has refused to release the information surrounding the exemption much like the Nevada Tax Commission is doing now.

TV-8 BOISE: Idaho senate backs bid to make companies collect internet tax.

IDAHO LAWMAKER: End tax break for Cabela's

In Maine, Cabela’s threatened to not build their proposed store if the state did not give them the exemption.

Maine refused.

WCSH TV-6 PORTLAND, MAINE: Cabela's doesn't want to collect sales taxes on catalog orders from Maine

Ultimately Cabela’s gave in:

WCSH TV-6 — Cabela's To Build Store In Maine, Without Tax Exemption — Cabela's new store is a "go"; tiff ends

The Cabela's catalogue remains the core business even amidst a rapid bricks-and-mortar expansion. SEC filings show that only 34% of the company's merchandising revenues came from store sales in 2004.

As they build more stores, Cabela's revenue increases. Their 2006 total income from all 19 retail locations was $304.9 million, an average of $16.05 million per store.

In their assertions to the City of Reno, Cabela's executives have projected that 75 percent of the sales tax revenue for the first year will be $2,041,034. Divided by .75 produces total first year projected sales taxes of $2,721,379. Dividing by the current Washoe county sales tax rate forecasts revenue in year one of $27,675,047.

They are apparently projecting this as a bellweather store, perhaps the flagship of the fleet. But what will happen when Cabela's expands into California. (On June 27, 2007, a Cabela's executive told the Reno city council that the company has "no plans" to build in California at the present time. That assertion is contradicted by a company statement to the Reno Gazette-Journal last year.)

According to Louisiana-based, in 2003, of the 40 million visitors Cabela's says came through its stores, only 6 million bought anything. (Per Cabela's 2005 SEC report.) Those numbers would be unthinkable for Wal-Mart or Target, where every browser is a buyer.

A site which generally addresses the business activities of Cabela’s and Bass Pro is

At the latter website, this page is of particular interest and just loaded with stories from around the country.

POETIC JUSTICE DEPT.: Scheels, which recently stirred controversy in Sparks by wanting to rename Sparks Blvd. as Scheels Blvd., complained about Cabela's favorable tax treatment in South Dakota.

It all makes for some interesting reading — and serious warning.


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