The two largest outdoor retailers have now officially joined forces. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have been trying to wrangle the details of a merger between the two sporting retail giants for some time, but now it’s all over but the crying according to a press release sent by the now combined entity.
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, two iconic brands and leaders in the outdoor industry, have officially joined forces with a vision to become North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company. The combined company is poised to provide customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations and more with a strong commitment to advancing conservation initiatives.
“We are excited to unite these iconic American brands to better serve our loyal customers and fellow outdoor enthusiasts,” said noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris. “As we move forward, we are committed to retaining everything customers love about both Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s by creating a ‘best-of-the-best’ experience that includes the superior products, outstanding customer service and exceptional value our customers have come to expect. We’re also deeply motivated by the potential to significantly advance key conservation initiatives.”
The combined company offers outdoor enthusiasts superior products, dynamic locations and above all, outstanding customer service. Innovative experiences include Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, the largest, most dynamic retail destination experience ever created. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, the gigantic 52-million cubic-foot facility also contains the remarkable Big Cypress Lodge. Additional offerings include award-winning hospitality and nature-based attractions like Big Cedar Lodge, the wilderness resort in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains recently recognized as the number one resort in the Midwest by Travel + Leisure for the second consecutive year. The company’s manufacturing arm, White River Marine Group offers an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading brands including TRACKER®, SUN TRACKER®, NITRO®, TAHOE®, REGENCY®, MAKO®, RANGER®, TRITON®, STRATOS® and ASCEND® among others.
Conservation and introducing new audiences to the outdoors is a key focus of Morris. Last week the conservation-minded visionary opened Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, the largest, most immersive fish and wildlife attraction in the world. Located next to Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, Wonders of Wildlife is larger than the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. With 35,000 live fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds, the 350,000 square-foot complex is a wonder in and of itself. Wonders of Wildlife is a gift to future generations from Johnny Morris, establishing a significant not-for-profit conservation attraction and education center in the heart of America.
Shared love of the outdoors
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s were each born from a love of the outdoors and share a remarkable heritage and legacy. Avid young angler Johnny Morris founded Bass Pro Shops in 1972 with eight square feet of space in the back of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, the company’s sole location for its first 13 years of business. Cabela’s dates back to 1961 when Dick, Mary and Jim Cabela began a mail order service for outdoor products around their kitchen table in Chappell, Nebraska. Both companies went on to become industry leaders. Together the combined company will celebrate both the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s brands while building on the rich history of both companies and looking to the future to best serve customers and outdoor enthusiasts.
This, coupled with the collapse of competitor Gander Mountain earlier this year, puts the new company in a unique position to capture a massive chunk of the market share.
The one saving grace for their smaller competitors is that the retail outlets are still from ubiquitous in many communities, which means there’s still ample opportunity for smaller chains and mom & pop retailers to continue doing a brisk business.
Besides which, the new company’s conservation effort will not only help Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s bottom line but also help the entire outdoor retail industry in the long run.
Let’s hope the new giant doesn’t get too big for its own britches and forget the kind of folks that helped both entities get where they are today.