SIDNEY, Neb. (AP) — Many Sidney residents are on edge as they wait for Cabela’s to announce what it plans to do.
The outdoor gear seller is evaluating strategic options because it is under pressure from an activist investor. Cabela’s said last month that it didn’t plan to comment on its strategic decisions until after its review was completed but gave no timetable for finishing.
The Omaha World-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1ILajBW ) that the developers of a Holiday Inn Express hotel near Cabela’s store and headquarters in Sidney have put the project on hold until the company announces its plan.
Cabela’s has close ties to its hometown of Sidney where it employs about 2,000 in a town of about 7,000.
Elliott Management has urged Cabela’s to consider selling its credit card unit or possibly the entire company. That firm owns 6 percent of Cabela’s shares and holds options to buy another 5 percent.
Keith Nienhueser said Cabela’s drives nearly all the work his construction company does in Sidney.
“I don’t work for them directly, but all the work we’re doing is because of them,” he said.
Nienhueser Construction did the dirt and utility work for Cabela’s new headquarters building that’s set to open this year. The construction company also worked on the new Sidney Regional Medical Center and part of a neighborhood of 700 homes that Cabela’s is sponsoring.
Nienhueser said he has a feeling that Cabela’s will continue to be based in Sidney because the founding family controls nearly 24 percent of the company’s stock.
“They have a big influence,” he said.
The company was founded in 1961 when Dick Cabela started selling fishing flies through the mail from his kitchen table with his wife, Mary, and brother, Jim.
Tim Miller, who recalls the problems that followed the closing of an Army ammunition depot in Sidney in the 1960s, said Sidney would be devastated if the company moves.
“There are a lot of people on pins and needles. But I really do think down deep that Cabela’s isn’t going to move,” said Miller, 62, who owns an office supply store and grew up in Sidney.”
Sidney’s vice mayor, Wendall Gaston, said Cabela’s and the community have been good for each other over the years.
“It’s a partnership,” said Gaston, who works as a Safeway pharmacist. “I don’t think Cabela’s would be as successful without Sidney and, of course, Sidney wouldn’t be as successful without Cabela’s.”
Cabela’s has several retail locations in Texas, including in Fort Worth and Allen.