By John Hank & Vicente Estrada
Cabela’s and Bass Pro shops have been corporate entities since July 5, 2017, when John Morris acquired Cabela’s in a buyout. Before this, the two were separate entities competing with each other. After the buyout current, Cabela’s stores kept their name and branding as well as things such as employee uniforms. However, in 2023, it was announced that Bass Pro shops would be adding the Bass Pro branding to all their stores, including the aforementioned Cabela’s stores. This may come as a shock or upset to those who have felt loyal to Cabela’s company and brand even after the buyout.
Cabela’s is one of the main buildings towards Lambeau Field on Highway 41. Its big yellow sign is visible from far up on the road and is very recognizable. How will people feel that the sign will be changing and possibly lose Cabela’s name altogether? This store is a big income earner for the city of Green Bay. It not only pays taxes to the city but also employs a lot of local residents and offers a lot of products that other stores don’t like: quality camping supplies, ammo, firearms, hunting supplies, etc. Bass Pro shops and Cabela make an annual 6.5 billion dollars, so each store makes millions of dollars themselves. The store here in Green Bay is one of these stores, and a part of that money is paid to the city of Green Bay.
We asked customers and employees alike about what they thought of the new branding and name changes. One customer told us, “I think it a good idea because a lot of people just see the Cabela’s sign and don’t realize that it’s also a Bass Pro shop unless they have been inside the store.” This is a sentiment that was expressed when people who had not been in the store before they had assumed that these stores were separate until we told them otherwise. Another customer said, “I’m okay with the change as long as they still have the same things in the store.” We had a customer tell us they feel somewhat upset about the change: “Cabela’s has been a great store, and since Bass Pro bought it, it just hasn’t been the same.” We spoke to an employee who wasn’t so sure about the change. He told us, “I think it’s stupid. It will just make things more difficult, and some customers will complain.” Another employee told us, “I’m just happy I got a new work shirt that is more breathable.” We had some employees tell us they really couldn’t care less about the change as much as others do. Some of the employees who have been customers of Cabela’s even before the buyout have expressed disappointment as they prefer to keep Cabela’s Branding and name, almost having a sense of nostalgia for the days when the two companies were separate.