Cabela's closing

After being the talk of the town when it opened in 2015, Cabela’s in Fort Oglethorpe closed its doors Monday, Jan. 13, after nearly five years. The company was purchased during a 2017 merger by Bass Pro Shops, which has a store just across the state line in East Ridge, Tenn.

It was a day of consolidation in Fort Oglethorpe on Monday, Jan. 13, as outdoor retailer Cabela’s closed its Fort Oglethorpe location with plans to move inventory and employees down the road to Bass Pro Shops.

Monday’s closure comes almost five years after the popular outdoor retailer set up shop just behind Costco off the 353 exit in Fort Oglethorpe in May of 2015.

A few months after that, competitor Bass Pro Shops opened its doors just across the state line in East Ridge, Tennessee.

Then, in 2017, Bass Pro Shops purchased Cabela’s, which created the reality of having two stores owned by the same company a mere 2½ miles apart from one another.

According to officials with Bass Pro Shops, the company looks to provide a larger assortment of goods at the East Ridge store and will offer employment to “virtually all” of the displaced workers impacted by the Cabela’s closure.

“By bringing these brands together, we can better serve our customers with greater product assortment, value and local expertise in a single location,” the company stated in an official statement Monday.

The company says it plans to update signage at the Bass Pro Shops location, which will include the Cabela’s logo, as well as that of the Tracker brand.

Following the announcement of the closure, Catoosa County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Director Keith Barclift issued a statement expressing the county’s desire to help secure future employment for workers who may be out of a job.

“It is my understanding that employees at Cabela’s will be offered comparable positions at the East Ridge Bass Pro Shop,” Barclift said. “However our primary goal is the ability of our citizens to find gainful employment. Therefore, we are working with the Georgia Department of Labor to ensure that any employee that is displaced by this announcement is able to find another job. We will have information on our website for anyone needing GDOL assistance.”

When Cabela’s initially wanted to develop in Catoosa County, the EDA provided a $1.5 million subsidy with the plan to recoup that money in sales tax and property tax revenue over a seven-year period following the store’s opening.

According to Barclift, the county was able to recoup that investment five years ahead of schedule in 2017.

“Catoosa County has verified that all of the developer’s financial performance goals under the Site Development Agreement were satisfied as of December 31, 2017, approximately five years ahead of schedule,” Barclift said. “Not only have the developer’s obligations been met and the Development Authority’s site development costs been re-paid, the sales and property tax revenues from the Cabela’s site have exceeded any financial investment made by the Development Authority.”

For consumers looking to purchase outdoor equipment provided by the company, Bass Pro Shops is located at 638 Camp Jordan Parkway off I-75 exit 1 in East Ridge, Tennessee.

Officials with the company say Bass Pro Shops will continue to redeem Cabela’s gift cards, and earn or redeem points from CLUB credit and Outdoor Rewards cards at the Bass Pro Shops location.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009.

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