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Don't shoot me for admitting I don't get Cabela's

What a difference a generation makes.  If you talk to my dad, he'd tell you that the new Cabela's in Richfield is the greatest store in the world.  I, on the other hand, didn't get it.  Looked like a gigantic Gander Mountain to me, but with way more stuffed deer on the wall.

Yes, it was enormous. And I understand the typical shopper spends three hours per visit -- according to the company, they anticipate 11,000 visitors per day.  But clearly, the outdoor-themed megastore speaks to a different demographic.  If I'm going to drive to a store the size of Miller Park that's outside Milwaukee, I'll take IKEA.

But my dad found a great winter coat.  Especially if Milwaukee's winter temperatures drop to those of, say, the South Pole.  The prices were reasonable and the selection was comprehensive, to say the least.  You can literally choose from dozens of fleece and down vests.

That said, I'm not just being cynical when I say that not much about Cabela's blew me away.  If you're into it (and I'm not), they have a snack bar full of bison, venison and other big game selections.  If you need camo pajamas or anything at all that's blaze orange (and I don't), they have an ample selection.  If you want to take target practice in their shooting gallery (OK, that looked pretty cool), it's there, too.  They also have tons of ice fishing, boating and camping supplies.  To their credit, the camping and outdoor cooking section was very impressive, including some stuff I've never seen elsewhere.

The clothing selection reminded me of a mix between Farm and Fleet and L.L. Bean.  Nothing stood out as extremely stylish, though I remain intrigued with the Carhartt jacket.  It did look pretty warm.

But as I left the store, I had the distinct feeling that I'd just paid a visit to Ted Nugent's house.  Hey, I like beef jerky as much as the next guy, but this place was really, really focused on animals and different ways to hunt and stuff them.  The clientele, which on average was about 50 years old and white, looked like they were having a great time, soaking it all in.   More power to them -- but this place just wasn't up my alley.

Talkbacks

OMCreader | Oct. 13, 2006 at 1:12 p.m. (report)

Ted Nugent said: You know, some awful hot chicks have been known to frequent the Nugent home. Stay away from my daughters, though, or I'll use my crossbow on you.

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OMCreader | Oct. 12, 2006 at 1:37 p.m. (report)

Bricklayer said: You Urban Hipsters are just too cool! Painfully so! And "Totally Agree," you are just to (sic) smart for Wisconsin.

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OMCreader | Oct. 12, 2006 at 10:44 a.m. (report)

IKEA v Cabela's said: IKEA carries trendy, disposable crap. Cabela's, if nothing else, carries clothing and camping gear of a reasonable quality at a reasonable price.

...and driving "outside of Milwaukee" is just another "the east side is the center of the universe" delusion. Richfield is less than 30 minutes from OMC World HQ. IKEA is 90 minutes in good traffic.

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OMCreader | Oct. 12, 2006 at 9:16 a.m. (report)

blackpanther said: You just don't like it because you haven't realized that killing animals is the ultimate in manliness. There is nothing quite as invigorating as sitting in a tree for 6 hours, drunk, then shooting an unsuspecting deer in its neck, watching it stagger around choking on it's own blood, while you wait to shoot it in the head, then cut its warm guts out. Now there is a clothing store that celebrates this virtuous path.

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OMCreader | Oct. 11, 2006 at 9:45 p.m. (report)

Chris Hunter said: Normally love your work, Andy, but your review is a little like sending a KISS fan to cover the MSO. If you're not really into something in the first place (hunting gear, venison, white guys??) you may not appreciate the nuances that make it cool for its fans. I'm not an outdoorsman, myself, so I wouldn't know a good hunting store from a bad one. But, I'm sure you guys have a more Wisconsinish person on staff who would know if Cabela's is just a big Gander Mountain, or really something special.

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