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Cabela's announces plans for Avon location

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AVON – Another big box store is coming to the city and this one will cater to the outdoor enthusiast.

Nebraska-based Cabela’s, a hunting, fishing and outdoor gear retailer, announced today it intends to bring an 81,000-square-foot store to 13 acres of land along Chester Road owned by the Jacobs Group.

Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen said the store will employ around 225 employees in full- and part-time positions and Cabela’s intends to bring plans before the Planning Commission in May.

“They’re hoping to move pretty fast in getting the site work done this summer and they’ll probably be under construction early next year,” Jensen said. “They want to open by fall of next year.”

According to a press release issued by Cabela’s, the Avon location will be built in a new form layout designed to offer customers an immersive outdoor experience with log construction, stonework, a mountain replica, aquarium, dozens of wildlife displays and taxidermy mounts, hand-painted murals, vintage outdoor photos and an indoor archery range.

The store will also have a café, fudge shop, boat shop, gun library, bargain cave and thousands of outdoor products.

Tommy Millner, Cabela’s chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement that Cabela’s has been interested in opening a store in the Greater Cleveland area for some time. The Avon store will be the fourth location to open in Ohio behind Columbus, West Chester and Centerville stores.

“Ohio has proven to be a state full of outdoor enthusiasts, and full of loyal Cabela’s customers,” he said. “Now Cabela’s will have a fourth conveniently located store to serve Ohioans and help them enjoy their time outdoors.”

Jensen said there are still a couple hundred acres of available land along Chester Road and the Cabela’s will only occupy about 25 percent of it. Thursday’s announcement comes on the heels of several other recent commercial development announcements planned for the same area.

A 178,000-square-foot Menards is planned for 22 acres of land along Chester Road just east of Center Road, and a 75,000-square-foot Levin Furniture and 192,900-square-foot Meijer grocery store are both slated for construction near the Interstate 90 interchange on Nagel Road.

Within a mile, residents can find a Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy and Wal-mart. Corporate box stores are popping up on land as fast as crops used to, the once legendary fertile soil of Avon quickly being covered with concrete.

But one doesn’t need to travel far to see largely abandoned shopping and strip malls in cities where retailers pack up and leave once the disposable incomes of the residents in the cities they inhabit dry up.

Jensen said such scenarios are always in the backs of everyone’s minds but he doesn’t think allowing a multitude of corporate retailers to open up within miles of one another is a slippery slope.

Citing how Crocker Park in nearby Westlake has developed, is still evolving and is still a popular place, Jensen said Avon envisions a similar atmosphere. He also said the Jacobs Group, which owns much of the land along Chester Road, is very selective with what businesses it agrees to work with.

For two years, it was rumored Cabela’s was coming to Avon, Jensen said, and he believes outdoor enthusiasts will travel to the store from all over Northeast Ohio to shop in Avon.

“I think if the quality of business is good the fear (of stores opening and closing) is less,” Jensen said. “I think Cabela’s has some holding ability to stay there for a long time.”

Cabelas operates 67 stores in North America and has plans to open 19 more in the near future.

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonWysochanski. 



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