Outdoor outfitter Cabela’s has announced plans to build a store in Fort Oglethorpe, giving the chain a third location in Georgia seven years after abandoning plans in the city of Adairsville.
The announcement drew mixed comments from officials in Adairsville. Mayor Evan King said he had no reaction at all. “That’s a business decision on their part,” King said.
Adairsville City Councilman Buddy Bagley said it was disturbing to him when the company pulled out of Adairsville.
“I don’t appreciate the way they did us,” Bagley said. “I really wanted it for our city. That didn’t thrill me then, and I don’t like it now.”
Rome businessman Ira Levy was among a group of undisclosed investors who were eager for Cabela’s to come to Bartow County.
“We had exercised an option to build a hotel over there,” Levy said. “There are a lot of people who lost a lot more money than I did.”
Levy’s group wanted to put the hotel at the southwest corner of the intersection of Interstate 75 and Ga. 140, across from where Cabela’s was planning a store.
“We had an option, we had the plans drawn. Oh, yeah, we were ready to go,” Levy said. “We got out of it without too heavy of a loss. It was one of those ventures that didn’t pan out.”
The Rome entrepreneur said he was just glad his group didn’t get the hotel started before Cabela’s made the decision to pull out.
The Fort Oglethorpe store, which will serve the Chattanooga market, will be constructed at I-75 and Ga. 146 in a development anchored by Costco. Construction on the 70,000- square-foot Fort Oglethorpe store is scheduled to begin later this year with a projected fall of 2015 opening.
The Fort Oglethorpe store will be the third for Cabela’s in Georgia. A store is expected to open next month in Augusta. Cabela’s also has a store under construction at I-75 and Ga. 92 near Acworth. That store is expected to open late this year.
In 2005, Cabela’s announced its intention to build a 165,000-square-foot store in Adairsville at the northwest intersection of I-75 and Ga. 140. Two years later it abandoned that site.
City officials in Adairsville were notified in 2007 of the company’s decision by email. Kevin Rhodes, Cabela’s director of real estate at the time, said the company was concerned about Adairsville’s distance from the population base in Atlanta.
“We are additionally concerned that a competitor could place a store between Adairsville and Atlanta and significantly impact sales at an Adairsville location,” Rhodes’ email said.
That’s precisely what happened when Bass Pro Shop announced plans to build a store in conjunction with the LakePoint Sporting Community south of Cartersville in Bartow County.
Just a few months later, Cabela’s revealed plans for the Acworth store.