Cabela’s Tulalip store sets up camp for April opening

By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

TULALIP — When Cabela’s opens a store here next month, customers can expect one thing: a good time.

“We try to set it up so it’s a party inside the store, and it’s a party outside the store,” said Kevin Weeks, general manager for the Tulalip location of the outdoor merchandiser.

The 110,000-square-foot store is situated along I-5 in Quil Ceda Village, which includes powerhouse retailers Walmart, Home Depot and Seattle Premium Outlets. The Tulalip tribe’s resort and casino also are there.

The location, 9810 Quil Ceda Blvd., Tulalip, should add to the appeal of the new Cabela’s, which opens April 19.

But as Weeks pointed out, the Cabela’s name has a strong following with customers, who are known to travel hours and even take mini-vacations to visit the chain’s retail locations.

“Our customers are just phenomenal,” he said. “They name kids and dogs after us. They have weddings at stores.”

Cabela’s massive stores combine retail with entertainment. The Tulalip store will have two 7,000-gallon aquariums, a gun library, a fudge shop, an indoor archery range, a “bargain cave” and a deli. Displays will feature 200 animal mounts, including bears, elk, grouse and otters.

“A lot of people have the perception that Cabela’s is strictly a hunting store,” Weeks said. “That’s just not the case.”

The retailer also sells shoes and clothing, as well as hiking, camping and boating gear.

This Cabela’s, however, will have a unique look, incorporating the artwork of the Tulalip Tribe. It also will display Northwest-themed murals.

Cabela’s has hired nearly 300 employees to staff the Tulalip store. About 60 percent of the workers are full time, the rest have part-time positions, Weeks said.

The employees were selected from roughly 1,300 applicants. Employees are coming from as far north as Anacortes and as far south as Edmonds, with many from the Camano and Stanwood area. Weeks noted that several former Kimberly-Clark employees, who lost their jobs at the paper and pulp mill in Everett, found work at the new Cabela’s.

Weeks, a Seattle native who has prior retail experience with Lowe’s hardware and served nine years in the U.S. Coast Guard, looked for workers with customer service experience, an enthusiasm for the outdoors and fun personalities.

That approach to the business will be on display April 19 for Cabela’s opening day festivities, including a “uniquely Cabela’s ribbon-cutting ceremony,” which Weeks declined to describe. The store also will have a band, giveaways and local hunting and fishing celebrities.

“Customers can expect to have a lot of fun,” Weeks said.

Herald reporter Michelle Dunlop: mdunlop@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3454.