Outdoor retailer Cabela’s building new shipping center in Tooele
Retail • Cabela’s breaks ground on 600,000-square-foot distribution center for chain’s 54 U.S. stores.
Published: May 13, 2014 04:39PM
Updated: May 13, 2014 04:34PM
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Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune People lined up in front of Cabela's in Lehi Friday November 29 to enter the store at 5 a.m. when the doors open. Many received prizes for waiting in line. Those towards the front of the line arrived on Thursday morning and camped out overnight. To pass the time a giant screen shows the popular "Duck Dynasty" show.

By summer of 2015, gear for thousands of hunters, fishers, campers and boating enthusiasts across the West will be moving in and out of a new facility in Tooele.

Outdoor outfitter Cabela’s began construction Tuesday on a huge regional distribution hub in an industrial park on Tooele’s west side.

The 600,000-square-foot building at 280 N. Industrial Loop Road will handle freight and product shipping to Cabela’s customers at the chain’s 54 U.S. stores across North America, including its retail outlet in Lehi. The $50 million Utah facility also will bring up to 300 jobs to Tooele County by the time it is finished, sometime in July of next year.

“We’re thrilled to have them,” Tooele City Councilman Steven C. Pruden said Tuesday.

Tooele Mayor Patrick Dunlavy called Cabela’s “a prestigious and important company that has shown a lot of faith in us.”

The mayor noted the city will also host a ground-breaking ceremony Thursday for a new information-technology building at its Utah State University regional campus.

“It’s been a good week,” he said.

Founded in 1961, Cabela’s bills itself as an outdoor retailer specializing in high-quality, competitively priced hunting, fishing and camping products. Market reports show the company has seen double-digit revenue growth for each of the past three years, part of a broadening U.S. popularity of outdoor recreation.

Customers crowd its sprawling outlets, where features such as archery ranges, gun libraries and wild game trophies turn shopping into a day-long outing. The chain opened two new megastores in Denver on the same day last August. The 150,000-square-foot Cabela’s store in Lehi has proven especially popular with Utah outdoor enthusiasts.

Cabela’s CEO Tommy Millner said the chain’s growth nationally and in Utah was driving expansion of its distribution footprint.

“It’s exciting to accomplish that while also bringing new jobs to Utah, where we have thousands of loyal customers and people live the Cabela’s lifestyle,” Millner said in a statement.

Construction of the heavily-computerized distribution center, whose floor space exceeds those of two record-setting new warehouses sold on Salt Lake City’s west side in April, caps years of effort by economic development officials to recruit new employers to Tooele County.

In January, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development extended state tax incentives to help seal the deal, with post-performance credits worth almost $700,000 over the next 10 years. To qualify for the tax credits, Cabela’s had to guarantee that 85 of the facility’s new jobs would pay at least 100 percent of the county’s yearly annual wage, including benefits.

Those seeking job opportunities at the Tooele location are encouraged to visit http://www.cabelas.jobs/

In granting the tax credits, Gov. Gary Herbert said the Cabela’s facility was a good fit for Utah, as it promised to strengthen the state’s tourist-drawing outdoor industry “and create family-sustaining jobs in rural areas.”

For its part, Tooele offered a “shovel-ready” location for the building, already fitted with key utilities, said Pruden, who also heads the city’s Redevelopment Agency.

And with the help of state funding, he and Dunavy noted, officials built a road, dubbed 1000 North, giving trucks streaming to and from the site more direct access to State Route 36 and Interstate 80.

Pruden and Dunlavy also both credited Randy Sant, who works on economic development issues for Tooele County, for his efforts in attracting the new Cabela’s facility.

tsemerad@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Tony_Semerad