In building a nationwide system of nearly 40 giant sporting goods stores, Cabela’s has not been afraid to ask for government help. Delaware is an exception. On Wednesday, it was announced that construction of the store on Christiana Mall property, southeast of Newark, would start next year, with completion slated for 2014.
Delaware Economic Development Office spokeswoman Nikki Lavoie says that while DEDO was “happy to point their real estate people in the direction of this location, no state funding was provided.” Cabela’s spokesman Joe Arterburn says the company has no plans to seek any government assistance for the Delaware store.
Elsewhere, the Nebraska-based retailer, like its rival Bass Pro Shops, has opened stores in smaller metropolitan or rural areas looking for revenue from tourism and sales taxes.
The attractions include an aquarium, cafeteria and an ability to lure male shoppers who might otherwise stay at home. All will add to the attractiveness of northern Delaware as a tourism destination. The closest Cabela’s in the region is Hamburg, Pa. , about an hour and 40 minutes north of Wilmington.
The impact of the incentives offered to the two “big box” retailers was the topic of an article in Atlantic.com.
In some cases, merchants complain of subsidized competition. Others claim that the developments fall short of projections in drawing money to communities.
The story from Atlantic.com says Cabela’s is now reconsidering the strategy.
However, the Kingsport, Tenn. Times News reported that Bristol, Va. has come up with a $25 million package for Cabela’s to build a store in that community.
According to the newspaper, the money will be recouped in sales tax revenues. Across the line in Bristol, Tenn., Bass Pro Shops is building a store.
The question in that area is whether the market is big enough for two stores or whether it will make the area a drawing card for lovers of outdoor gear.
Delaware comes armed with a more powerful tool in the form of no sales taxes. That lures shoppers, construction jobs and generates income tax revenues from employers. In addition, it is hard to beat a location on the interstate between Boston and Florida. –Doug Rainey