Retailers Bait Sportsmen With Mountains Of Gear

USA Today: Millions of anglers, hunters and target shooters are shelling out billions of dollars on gear, from $300 fly-fishing rods to $10,000 shotguns. Outdoor retailers such as Cabela’s are expanding nationwide, opening superstores that attract legions of shoppers and tourists. Outdoor trade shows are drawing more exhibitors each year.
Many of the enthusiasts are baby boomers in their peak earning years — and their kids are joining them, according to industry groups and marketing reports.
“People are spending more on outdoor sports than they ever have,” said Michael Callahan, senior vice president at Cabela’s, the No. 1 U.S. hunting-and-fishing retailer.
From 2003 to 2004, sales of hunting and shooting products surged 8% to $2.9 billion, while fishing gear sales rose 2% to $2 billion, reports the National Sporting Goods Association trade group. Anglers and hunters spend tens of billions of dollars more on lodging, travel and other costs, according to industry groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain and other retailers are huge attractions.
Some of the “destination” megastores boast forest and waterfall displays, gun and archery ranges, museumlike dioramas of wildlife and huge aquariums. At the Silverton Casino Hotel Lodgein Las Vegas, tourists flock to a Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Worldstore that resembles a frontier hunting lodge from the 1800s.
Customers drive hundreds of miles to shop at Cabela’s 13 vast stores. Picture a Home Depot and Disneyland for hunters and anglers, where they can buy canoes and kayaks; antique rifles for $250,000; women’s swimwear; and kids’ snow parkas. There’s even a $43,000 log cabin that outdoorsmen can assemble themselves.
Eight more Cabela’s stores are in the works.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.