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.
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.
Bricklayer said: You Urban Hipsters are just too cool! Painfully so! And "Totally Agree," you are just to (sic) smart for Wisconsin.
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.
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.
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.
Show me the other 3 Talkbacks
8 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published March 4, 2015
When Brewers fans talk to me about Spring Training, I always see the same look in their eyes. "I've always wanted to do that," they say wistfully, like Arizona exists in some far-away land, where you sit right next to the field and talk to the players in between in innings. Well, actually, most of that's true. Except for the far-away land part.
Published Feb. 18, 2015
Doctors are very clear with their warnings that alcohol will not warm you up in the dead of winter. So, obviously, unless you have a Saint Bernard with a little flask of brandy, you should not drink to thaw yourself out during these subzero temperatures in Milwaukee right now. You may, however, drink to take your mind off winter. And it being Bar Month, we tracked down some excellent cocktail recipes from our sponsor brands.
Published Feb. 18, 2015
Karen Leahy, a CPA and Milwaukee native, doesn't really talk about her other career - something she's been doing straight through since the '80s. "I'd rather be known for brains than beauty," says Leahy, who is also a successful part-time model. "I should have been a boy," she says, nuzzling her dog in her chic Downtown condo. "I like cars, sports and sex."
Published Feb. 9, 2015
As we trudge through another winter, thinking we've got it the worst - and we hear about it the most on TV - industry insiders say that's not quite right. Everyone, everywhere complains about their city's weather and its weather coverage. Yet for the most part, every TV station reports on it the same way. Here's an in-depth look at the changing face of Milwaukee weather.
Published Feb. 3, 2015
There aren't many bars in Milwaukee where no money changes hands, you don't order your own drinks and all of the imbibing goes on in the middle of the day. But that's the world of Lisa Semerad, a bartender at the Miller Inn, the last stop on the Miller Brewery Tour at 4251 W. State St. Her customers are always in a great mood, and for Semerad, Miller is a family tradition. No wonder she loves her job.
Published Feb. 3, 2015
I remember helping a friend out in college after his grandmother died, and one of our tasks was going through her old photos and deciding what to keep and what to toss. This was a really sad task, and I felt like I was intruding on someone's life, throwing away memories that meant nothing to me. What will it be like for our generation?
Published Jan. 6, 2015
I remember back in college, I came to the realization that several different versions existed of me. Those different versions of me continue to this day, but nowhere are they more pronounced than on social media. I embraced Twitter long before Facebook and Instagram, but now active on all three, you'll experience a totally different Andy Tarnoff if you only look in one place.
Published Dec. 30, 2014
These year-end lists are always fun to write, because they are so open-ended. So bear with me if I skip the regular categories and think outside the box a little for this one.
Published Dec. 29, 2014
As you can imagine, it's not easy being a four-season bike shop in a state where it's possible to see snow on the ground for eight months out of the year. But Steve Whitford, co-owner of South Shore Cyclery in Cudahy, says he knows no other way.
Published Dec. 22, 2014
I remember vividly how hard school was. Not just the homework, but the routine of waking up early, navigating its social intricacies. Granted, my daughter is only in K5, but still, she works hard - so I like to reward her with plenty of family fun when seasonal school vacations come around.