While most fashion and athletic retailers across the country are now closed amid the coronavirus outbreak, Cabela’s and parent company Bass Pro Shops remain open for business.
FN reached out to several Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops locations throughout the country today, and representatives at each of them confirmed that it’s business as usual. A media rep for the company didn’t respond to a request for comment.
An employee of the Cabela’s store in Gainesville, Va., who spoke on condition of anonymity, told FN: “We’re not shutting down until we’ve been given notice to do so.” The staff member also stated the only Cabela’s location to close was in Pennsylvania “because it was declared nonessential.” In the past 24 hours, both New York and California have enacted stricter measures regarding “nonessential retail” that could impact Cabela’s stores in those states.
The Virginia employee stated that management didn’t provide a reason why stores are staying operational — only that the retailer has to “make a profit.”
Although several representatives declined to confirm what was selling, Adam Hanley, co-manager at Bass Pro Shops in Utica, N.Y., stated some of the most purchased products have been firearms and ammo, and that’s true in the Gainesville Cabela’s store, too.
As with most topics today, Twitter was divided on whether the retailer is making the right decision.
“I was in [Cabela’s] tonight, the guns and ammo being sold was unbelievable. The guy on the counter said it was 5x the normal monthly sales. So I’d say suck it gun control people,” wrote user @firewrench69.
However, other users were in favor of shuttering temporarily, as many stores have done and continue to do.
“I urge @Cabelas @cabelascanada to implement chain wide policies to protect the health of their employees. Stores are still packed, lots of close contact. Unacceptable. Managers should be limiting occupancy at all times. @GoAHealth,” wrote user @JamieBoisvenue.
The topic of gun control has been a contentious topic within the sporting goods world.
On March 10, competitor Dick’s Sporting Goods continued to distance itself from gun sales, announcing it will remove weapons and other hunting products from another 440 stores across the country this year. The efforts began in February 2018, a week after the shooting in Parkland, Fla., when the company said it would ban the sales of assault-style rifles and no longer sell firearms to customers under 21 years old.
Between now and then, the retailer has removed all hunting-related gear, including assault-style rifles, handguns and ammunition from roughly 135 of its stores, and it sold eight of its Field & Stream stores to Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings, which will no longer carry modern sporting rifles. This week, Dick’s announced it was closing all stores temporarily.
Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops, however, still stock semiautomatic rifles. On the Cabela’s website, the retailer says it follows the federal age regulations. This includes an 18-year-old age requirement to purchase a long gun and 21 to purchase a handgun from a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer.