The first Cabela’s store in New York State opened in Cheektowaga Thursday. Shoppers lined up by the thousands to get a glimpse of the new retail outdoor store.
Cheektowaga and New York State Police had additional manpower on hand to monitor the nearly 6,000 vehicles expected for the event. The law enforcement agencies sent advisories for heavy traffic on area roads and thruways days prior to the store's opening.
The grand-opening ceremony featured an archer cutting the ribbon with a bow and arrow. It was an excited atmosphere inside the store as Cabela’s “outfitters” clapped and cheered for shoppers entering the building.
Hundreds of people began lining up as early as Wednesday morning to be the first inside. The first 500 shoppers received gift cards ranging from $5 to $500.
Andrew Staley said he had been waiting in line since 10 a.m. Wednesday.
“It’s worth it. It’s good camaraderie. You get to meet a lot of people. I’ll never do this again, but I wanted to do this at least once. It’s been sunny and nice and warm, so why not?” said Staley.
Katherine Pautler said she waited in line since 5 a.m. Thursday to get inside the store. She says she believes Cabela’s will give people a reason to check out all New York State has to offer outdoors.
“I love the outdoors. I’ve always wanted to go to a Cabela’s. It’s the grand opening and I thought it would be a fun experience to be here,” said Pautler.
The retail store sells hunting, fishing, outdoor gear and apparel. When customers enter the building they are greeted by a custom-built mountain filled with taxidermy and a large built-in fish tank. There is also a fudge shop and deli called the Red Hawk Café serving up buffalo and elk on weck sandwiches.
Retail Marketing Manager Don Ashworth says Cabela’s is thrilled to be part of the growth happening in region.
“I think the impact is going to be pretty good. There’s going to be several thousand people that come through the store today shopping at Cabela’s, but also visiting the local restaurants in out parking lot, in our area and also over at the Galleria. So, it’s not just Cabela’s benefiting from the grand opening, but it’s all the businesses around us,” said Ashworth.
The new Cabela’s is located at 2003 Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga, adjacent from the Walden Galleria Mall. The grand opening weekend hours are Thursday until 9 p.m; Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.