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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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In order to create a dream, a business owner has to have an idea and no better place for that idea to be built upon such as a husband and wife's kitchen table.  This was the location for the initial business that would be known as Cabela's.  So how did this kitchen table base business turn into a multi-billion dollars' outdoor recreational empire?  

Company History

“Cabela's was started in 1961 by Dick Cabela when he decided to sell fishing flies that were bought at a furniture show in Chicago and went home to Chappell, Nebraska and ran a classified ad in the Casper, Wyoming, newspaper reading '12 hand-tied flies for $1' which resulted in one response (Cabela's, 2016).”

“Undeterred by this lack of reaction from his first advertisement, Dick Cabela formulated an ad read ‘FREE Introductory offer! Five hand tied Flies….25c Postage…Handling' listing this ad in national outdoor magazines, which resulted in volumes of orders (Cabela's, 2016).”

“Dick and Mary Cabela used a direct-mail style using s mimeographed catalog of order items involved with their product line as Cabela's business initially functioned from their kitchen table of their home in Chappell, Nebraska (Cabela's, 2016).”

“In 1964, after continued success the need for a larger location was evident at the kitchen table no longer was sufficient the Cabela's business was relocated to the basement of Dick and Kim Cabela's father's furniture store, and eventually expanding to other buildings in Chappell, Nebraska (Cabela's, 2016).”

“In 1963, Dick Cabela's younger brother Jim joined the company.  During the initial years of Cabela's growth Dick, Mary, and Jim did receive any salary and decided to invest in their business mailings, new equipment, and bigger facilities (Cabela's, 2016).”

“Cabela's is known for its inexpensive, superior outdoor equipment founded on it world-famous catalog business as Cabela's produces over 100 different catalogs per year, with catalogs focused on archery, fly-fishing, and boating along with their elaborate Spring and Fall Master catalogs (Cabela's, 2016).”

“along with shipping its catalogs to 50 states and 125 countries worldwide, Cabela's e-commerce site, went live in 1998.  Cabela's retail stores have proven their individuality by creating a unique shopping experience with their wildlife museums, and educational centers that are included within their Cabela's retail stores (Cabela's, 2016).”

“Cabela's over time has managed to spread its brand name to Cabela's Outfitter Journal magazine and award-winning television shows, along with their co-branded Cabela's Visa credit card, which was started in 1995. (Cabela's, 2016).”

“On June 25, 2004, Cabela's (CAB) entered the New York Stock Exchange and in 2006 Cabela's was ranked no. 1 in their industry and was named Company of the Year in Sporting Classics magazine prestigious Awards of Excellence.  Cabela's employees named the company one of the Top 100 Companies to Work For in Fortune magazine's January 2000 issue (Cabela's, 2016).”

Vision, Mission, and Values Statements

“Cabela's Mission Statement is as the World's Foremost Outfitter, we are dedicated to providing safe products of exceptional quality to our customers (Cabela's, n.d.).”

“Cabela's strategic positioning incorporates five focal points as Cabela's “Focuses on the Customer, by merging outdoor expertise, product knowledge, and understanding that improves customer experiences during everyday interactions (Cabela's, n.d.).”

Cabela's continues to “increase margins and improve merchandise performance by optimizing current capabilities and continually searching for the manner in which to improve Cabela's branded products in the marketplace (Cabela's, n.d.).”

Cabela's “retail success is a combined effort directed at an exceptional customer experience facilitated by the outfitter training centered on continuous improvement (Cabela's, n.d.).”

Cabela's continued growth is due to its ability to “capitalize on opportunity increasing its market share by using ‘Next-Generation' stores and ‘Outpost' store formats (Cabela's, n.d.).”

Cabela's capacity to sustain “Direct Channel business growth by utilizing the internet commerce as well as its ability to capitalize on digital, mobile, and social marketing opportunities (Cabela's, n.d.).”

Cabela's mission statement designates its primary function to offer safe, quality products to its consumers all over the world.  Its target customers within the target region are those interested in outdoor products, and Cabela's distributes its available products by using the internet, digital and social media, along with the mail-direct catalog format that made Cabela's famous.  

Cabela's has an exceptional relationship with their employees as described by their placement on the Top 100 Companies to Work For in Fortune magazines (Cabela's, n.d.).  The direct customer service experience is Cabela's focus while generating profit by delivering quality merchandise that has shown over time that Cabela's simple foundation strategies of mail-order catalog continue and Cabela's makes progression by evolving and using technology to reach those consumers.

“Management Best Practices”

Cabela's did not have success with its first attempt at planning with its inventory management.  However, Cabela's learned after its initial inventory management software was not as successful as they were anticipating.  

Cabela's is extremely organized in marketing the correct product at the precise time of the year.  Cabela's has become excellent at predicting relevant customer buying trends and uses this information to better stock inventory within its retail stores.  

Cabela's management is respectable at partnering with other companies to make Cabela's the best it can be from finding pricing solutions that offer the right price, and markdowns, at the precise time, while utilizing the correct marketing channel for that particular price modification is what makes Cabela is the leader in organizing customer satisfaction.   

Cabela's is superb at acknowledging what works for their business and what doesn't, and they make a corrective action when needed.  The first attempt at inventory management proved that Cabela's took what they learned from this failed investment and made sure the next software implementation would be thoroughly evaluated and implemented with a supporting vendor.

Lessons Learned Conclusion

Cabela's is relevant to the study of management because they understand what the customer wants by offering a quality product and having multiple marketing avenues to reach their customers.  Cabela's knows what works for their product line, especially the direct-mail marketing that it originally started with and continued to use that marketing strategy.  However, Cabela's acknowledges that electronic communication, social media, and the internet has become critical e-commerce tools for a business and Cabela's uses all of those formats.

Cabela's uses many avenues to access, obtain, and retain its customer base and their satisfaction.  Cabela's is a company that uses all of its buildings, warehouses or facilities to maximum capacity before deciding to expand or construct another building resource for storage, distribution, or display of its products.  Cabela's has become a company that thoroughly analyzing its next step before it takes it.  This planning is the result of learning from their first mistake.

Cabela's understands the value in marketing by different means such as catalogs, Internet, and stores with elaborate displays.  This multi-channel marketing ensures that all the potential customer is being reached and have available access to Cabela's products.  Cabela's ability to provide mobile adaptation provides them with the longevity react to supply and demand with direct effects profitability for them.

Not every person has converted to technology as their primary manner in which to order products, so for Cabela's to still utilize its original format for marketing and have success with these techniques proves that the quality provided to the customer is exceptional and has carried them into a successful position in their industry over several decades.   

Technology has to be incorporated for business's to thrive and maintain contact consumers in the last 20 years.  Cabela's continues to utilize its original format of mail order catalogs while integrating technology that formats a personalized customer experience to engage those in the midst of a purchase decision.   

Cabela's management understands the significance and profitability that can be found within their company through utilizing partnerships.  Cabela's continually searches for protocols that will deliver a better outcome with its pricing solutions, inventory management, and mobile marketing analysis services.  Continuing to find new and innovative solutions to reach their customers is what makes Cabela's great in the business industry and hugely successful.   


Cabela's dedication to its customers is the significant reason that they continue to succeed in the outdoor industry.  The direct employee's outfitter training is one of the many reasons that Cabela's can provide their customers with an educational and personal experience when they enter their retail stores.   

Cabela's ability to continually expand and integrate all aspects of their business is what makes Cabela's personal service provided by catalog, electronic media, or through the internet defines its importance in keeping contact with their customers.  Cabela's collaboration with multiple software companies that provide their business with cost management solutions and profitability that direct Cabela's to make better daily business decisions.


Cabela's, I. (2). Cabela's Inc. Executive Michael Copeland Transitions to Strategic Advisory Role. Business Wire (English).

Cabela's. (2016). Company History: Cabela's. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from

Cabela's. (n.d.). Strategy – Cabela's. Retrieved April 16, 2016, from

Kusterbeck, S. (2007, April). Cabela's masters inventory management: after investing in a new planning, forecasting and replenishment system, Cabela's has increased inventory turns and in-stock availability, and can respond more quickly to demand--all to give its customers excellent service whether they shop by catalog, online or in-store. Apparel, 48(8), 26+. Retrieved from

Reference for Business. (2016). Cabela's Inc. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Cabela's Inc. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from

Reuters. (2015). Cabela's Says It's Exploring ‘Strategic Alternatives'. Fortune.Com, N.PAG.


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