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O/T Cabela's real estate question

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by bigdogtx, Dec 2, 2007.

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  1. bigdogtx

    bigdogtx Well-Known Member

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    I got this email today and wondered if anyone here knows more or can shed "accurate" light on the subject? I checked nmopes.com and could find nothing there. Not wanting to start a bashing party, but I am hoping for more info.

    "Cabela’s real estate business is fairly directly related to public land access in that their opening moves have been to broker ranches right next large tracts of public land, such as the Missouri breaks , at least one of which was in Block Management and a gateway to the breaks. They are facilitating the whole privatization jugernaught threatening our land and access to the public wildlife.


    Cabela’s Desecrating its Own Brand


    By Bill Schneider, 11-22-07


    It has taken Cabela’s a long time to move into Montana, but now that iconic retailer of hunting and fishing goods finally has a stake in the sand down in Billings, it might be wondering if it was the right decision.

    Cabela’s has become accustomed to being revered by hunters and anglers, but in Montana, many sportsmen and women now have the opposite attitude, disdain--and they’re sending back their catalogs with promises never to spend another penny there. When opening a new store, Cabela’s expects the local hunters and anglers who have lusted for years to have a store nearby to more or less knell on the doorstep, but if Cabela’s doesn’t stop endorsing the loss of public hunting, the corporate VIPs might see people picketing the Billings store opening with anti-Cabela’s placards.

    Here’s the rub. Back in June 2004, Cabela’s went public and is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CAB. Such initial public offerings are always accompanied by plans on how to use all the new money for aggressive growth. And sure enough, Cabela’s launched into a major expansion, which primarily involving more and faster store openings.

    No problem so far, the more and faster the better as far as I’m concerned, but a small part of that growth plan, a real estate marketing division called Cabela’s Trophy Properties might hurt Cabela’s bottom line and stock performance (already down to about half of its opening price) more than it helps. In Montana, the ruckus over the real estate division has already tarnished the best brand in the business, and it looks like it could get much worse and spread to other states.

    I personally don’t want to see this happen because I’m one of those who have grown up revering Cabela’s. I’d probably live in a Cabela’s store if they’d let me--at least for a few days until I had to leave to file for bankruptcy. And I bet the company’s brass and shareholders want to prevent damage to their brand even more than I do. If so, they need to act quickly and decisively instead of doing what they’re doing right now, which is seriously underestimating the potential of the problem.

    The controversy erupted when Cabela’s Trophy Properties opened an office in Montana and started listing what the Montana Wildlife Federation (MWF), the state’s largest group of hunters and anglers, calls “traditional public hunting properties.” Those listings shot up a warning flare to the MWF’s 7,000 members, and the result was a strongly worded letter from executive director Craig Sharpe going to Dennis Highby, president & CEO of Cabela’s. In the letter, Sharpe warned of a “strong response” to the real estate marketing, such as mailing back or burning catalogs, unless Cabela’s addressed the group’s concerns and agreed to a meeting to discuss the issues.

    A flash point in the controversy was the sale, planned subdivision and eventual closure to public hunting of two large ranches in central Montana by Cabela’s Trophy Properties. “Is this in line with Cabela’s mission?” Sharpe asked in his letter.

    Following Sharpe’s letter and several others sent to Cabela’s by MWF members, two of Montana’s premier outdoor writers, Mike Babcock at the Great Falls Tribune and Mark Henckel of the Billings Gazette wrote detailed articles on the debate. Neither article painted a rosy picture of Cabela’s real estate deals and ended up turning up the heat another notch.

    Then, and typical of large corporations that don’t really understand damage control, Cabela’s managed to make it worse with its responses. First, Cabela’s spokesperson David Draper implied that this was no big deal and told Montana hunters they shouldn’t fret because the properties were selling to sportsmen who are “probably going to make the land better,” a bonehead statement that Sharpe called “insulting.”

    Throwing more gas on the fire was the corporate response that, in essence, tried to dodge the bullet by saying we aren’t really in the real estate business, just the real estate marketing business.

    Here’s how that works. Cabela’s doesn’t actually buy and sell land, Instead, it licenses its brand to local real estate brokers and allows them to market prime hunting and fishing properties under the banner of Cabela’s Trophy Properties. The brokers pay Cabela’s for the license, probably with a license fee and a slice of the commission on property sales.

    Cabela’s third response was the old “can’t we just get along” comeback, which was in the form of an invitation for the MWF board to an exclusive VIP reception at the Billing store opening and agreeing to send out a packet of information to buyers of “trophy properties” suggesting they do good things for wildlife.

    Well, we all hope buyers do good things like leave land open to public hunting and file for a conservation easement preventing future subdivision and that the board members has a jolly time at the reception, but that response doesn’t address what concerns Montana hunters (i.e. Cabela’s promoting the loss of public hunting. In fact, the tokenism worsened the problem.

    Sorry, Cabela’s, these responses get zero traction. By licensing your name to realtors who use it to market property definitely makes you part of the real estate biz--and not just any real estate biz, but the worst kind.

    I doubt anybody has a problem with Cabela’s buying 44 acres down on the edge of Billings and then selling off a chuck or two to Burger King or Day’s Inn. But using a nation’s top hunting and fishing brand to promote the sale, subdivision and closure to public access of prime hunting land is quite a different real estate deal. It is, in fact, exactly opposite of everything Cabela’s stands for, and you’d think the company would be trying to distance itself as far and as fast as possible from it.

    Earth to Cabela’s. You’re using your brand to promote the loss of public hunting on private land in large sections of Montana and other sates. This could destroy your brand, and you really don’t want to do this.

    Getting out of real estate can’t be that tough a decision for a company with $2 billon in sales, very little of it from real estate marketing. I perused the annual report and couldn’t even find the words “Cabela’s Trophy Properties,” let alone anything about the millions Cabela’s makes in license fees and commissions--because, of course, this is probably a microscopic part of the giant’s revenue.

    It has potential, though--potential to cost Cabela’s ten dollars in retail sales for every dollar earned in license fee income.

    So, I hope President & CEO Highby sees this column, recognizes the real estate division as a major (but still correctable) mistake, and decides get out of the real estate business faster than he can say it.

    If you’d like to support me in encouraging, Cabela’s to rapidly get back on course, here’s a couple of phone numbers that might work, 308-254-5505 and 1-800-237-4444, or you can go to the customer service email page (click here) and send your comments in writing. In the meantime, until we get a better response, keep sending those catalogs back. Cabela’s definitely understands what that means.

    Ron Moody"
     
  2. Gary Waalkes

    Gary Waalkes Well-Known Member

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    well written - I see this as just like the "Progressive Insurance" endorsement. Being a publicly held company, they are now managed by folks with absolutely no connection to hunting, fishing, camping, rafting, etc. I am sure their executives only play golf or maybe tennis and they have never handled a firearm or fishing rod. They did not understand the harm of the alliance they made with progressive insurance either. Your last paragraph is the ONLY thing they understand.
     
  3. Little Dog

    Little Dog TS Member

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    DB Bill, Cabellas can't prevent access to public land for hunting- this is about private land. What you talked about has nothing to do with Cabellas or private land.
     
  4. krieghoffkrusher

    krieghoffkrusher TS Member

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    Isn't Cabelas insuring that these properites are being marketed toward sportsman and not just deveopers. This is private land that is up for sale. with Cabelas getting involved it is apparent that they are trying to steer this PRIVATE land into the hands of sportsman where it will continue to be used for hunting purposes. Rather then getting in a fuss why don't you open yoru eyes people.
     
  5. Little Dog

    Little Dog TS Member

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    DB, that's public access to private land. Please try to focus on this fact. Just how do you think Cabellas can sell public (government owned land). DAH
     
  6. sx1skeet

    sx1skeet TS Member

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    Just so all you know Mr. Highby is a hunter he has the guns and dog to show for that. You guys need to lay off tell you know what you are talking about. Like said they only try to help sell some ones property not public land. Go on there web site and look for your self. I can say this because I know Mr. Highby personaly and what he realy loves is hunting, parkers and family.
     
  7. tj303

    tj303 Member

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    If the "public" thinks they are entitled to access to private land they are wrong. From welfare, jobs, healthcare and retirement we are becoming a society of 'entitlements'.
     
  8. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    I think what the original poster is trying to say is that, some parcels of public land are surrounded (land-locked) by private land. And currently, some of those private land owners have given some type of easement (verbally?) to access the public land.

    IMO....Doug
     
  9. SoftCraft

    SoftCraft TS Member

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    You are asking the real estate agents to do something that in most states they are restricted from doing - that is only allowing certain uses for property they are marketing. (and in most states it is in state statues)

    If Montana is like AZ the agents must present all offers to the sellers and can not restrict what offers the sellers see.

    Your arguement here should be with the land owners, not with the real estate agents. Except for equal housing, the owners must also be careful who they refuse to accept offers from.

    In the end the lawmakers have determined the allowable use of the land sold. If you don't what to loose the public hunting areas, get the lawmakers to restrict the use of the land around those hunting areas with a buffer zone.

    In any case, you need to make your argument with the right groups, and that doesn't inclue the real estate agents who are simply doing their job.

    Rich Andrew
    Corporate Broker
    Arizona Realty One Group
    Scottsdale, AZ
     
  10. lumper

    lumper TS Member

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    Cabelas and Bass Pro are like the Wal-Marts of the sporting goods industry. They will be the death of the American sportsman just like Wal-Mart is the death of the American consumer.
     
  11. thespan

    thespan TS Member

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    This is legitimate.

    Regards,

    Peter Greenspan

    http://www.newwest.net/city/article/cabelas_desecrating_its_own_brand/C8/L8/
     
  12. bigdogtx

    bigdogtx Well-Known Member

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    I was afraid of that. Too bad they can't just leave well enough alone. Sad.
     
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