Cabela’s could boost local economy

County-funded study sees $25 million in impact

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Lone Tree’s new Cabela’s will add an estimated $679,000 in annual sales taxes to the city, and a Douglas County-funded study shows the store will impact the local economy to the tune of about $24 million a year.

Business-to-business transactions, store employee spending, money spent locally by shoppers traveling to the store and other exchanges will circulate more money throughout the area, according to a Cabela’s economic impact analysis written for Douglas County by Development Research Partners.

Douglas County paid the company for the analysis to get a better feel for the 110,000-square-foot Lone Tree store’s effect.

The store at Interstate 25 and RidgeGate Parkway opened Aug. 15, and its performance so far is exceeding the company’s expectations. That could mean the study’s projections, which Development Research Partners president Patty Silverstein said are conservative, are low.

Though Cabela’s officials won’t talk specific dollar amounts, spokesman Nathan Borowski said they’re happy in Lone Tree.

“Early signs point to the fact it will be a great location for us,” he said. On opening day, “we were blown away by the support we received from our community and loyal customers. It’s continued ever since the doors opened.”

The 2012 study estimates not only the store’s retail sales, but the balance remaining after Cabela’s pays for its inventory. Only that retailer’s margin, estimated at $16 million, “generates additional economic benefits throughout the region,” according to the report.

The study considers not only what the corporation may spend locally on items like landscaping, office supplies and other products the company may not directly supply, but employees communitywide — hairdressers, grocery store clerks, waiters and others — who will benefit from money Cabela’s employees will spend in the area.

According to the study, local spending by Cabela’s and its employees will support the salaries of 43 employees working in other industries throughout the community.

“Bottom line, the existence of Cabela’s in Douglas County supports the employment of 193 people — 150 direct plus 43 additional workers supported by that spending,” Silverstein said. “Some of those people … maybe they own the restaurant some of those employees are spending their money at. Maybe they are working for the bank that these people pay their rent and mortgage payments to. The whole idea is that it does really interconnect all throughout the economic system.”

Lone Tree Mayor Jim Gunning said retailers like Cabela’s are vital in a city that has no municipal property taxes.

“A lot of the amenities that Lone Tree benefits from are all based on the fact we have such tremendous retail sales,” he said. “It’s a well-kept city; we have the brick fencing, the medians, the arts center and newer amenities like the (Cook Creek) pool and tennis courts. People love those things, but to have those things, you have to have a tax base.

“The other part is that to have the mall, Cabela’s and all these nice retail outlets, you still have to have jobs with pretty good incomes, things like (Charles) Schwab, Time Warner and the hospital. You want the city to be comprehensive. You want it to be well distributed. I think when you look at Lone Tree, that’s true.”

The city offered Cabela’s a $7.2 million incentive in the form of  infrastructure improvements.

Cabela’s hired about 200 employees at its Lone Tree store, a mix of full-time, part-time and seasonal workers. Silverstein’s analysis is based on a conservative estimate of 150 employees.