Cabela's breaks ground at Quil Ceda Village

From left, the Tulalip Tribes
From left, the Tulalip Tribes' Quil Ceda Village Council member Steve Gobin, Tribal Vice Chair Glen Gobin, Tribal Board member Don Hatch Jr., Tribal Treasurer Chuck James, Cabela's Construction Project Manager Troy Kurz, Tribal Chair Mel Sheldon Jr., Tribal Secretary Marie Zackuse and Cabela's Vice President of Construction and Real Estate Mark Nienhueser, Real Estate Manager Steven Krajewski and Director of Real Estate Jamie Gull break ground Aug. 2 on the Cabela's store planned for Quil Ceda Village.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

TULALIP — According to Tulalip Tribal Board members, the plot of land just north of the existing Quil Ceda Village and just south of the Tulalip Resort Hotel and Casino has sat empty for years because they've been waiting for just the right new development.

As Tribal members officially broke ground on the site with members of the Cabela's chain of hunting, fishing and outdoor supplies stores on Aug. 2, they agreed that Cabela's was the right choice, for Quil Ceda Village and beyond.

The projected 30-week construction period is aiming for an April opening of a 110,000-square-foot Cabela's store in April of next year. It would not only mark the second Cabela's store opening in the state of Washington, following that of the chain's Lacey location in 2007, but would also be the first on a Native American reservation.

Tulalip Tribal Chair Mel Sheldon Jr. was joined by Vice Chair Glen Gobin and fellow Tribal Board members Don Hatch Jr. and Marie Zackuse in praising both the foresight of their predecessors, in preserving the land for future use, and the hard work of fellow Tribal members in helping make their deal with Cabela's happen.

"We've learned a lot about each other," Sheldon said of working with Cabela's. "They've learned about our sovereignty and self-governance, and that business deals can be done with Tulalip. We're looking forward to a great relationship in the years ahead."

After Sheldon touted Cabela's as a good fit with the rest of Quil Ceda Village's businesses, Gobin agreed with him that Cabela's, like those other businesses, also contributes to the Tulalip Resort's status as a travel destination.

"In Indian Country, every step we take means so much to future generations," Gobin said, before laughing, "This is no longer just an overnight stay. You'll have to stay here two or three days to see everything we have to offer."

Hatch recalled how the land could have been sold in the 1960s, if not for the Tribal Board at that time, back when he was "a young punk kid." Like his fellow Tribal Board members, he thanked Cabela's and deemed them "one of the main players here now," even as he warned them that the Tribes would hold them to a demanding standard.

"Us Indians won't let you off easy, but that's part of life on the Reservation," Hatch said.

Tribal Treasurer Chuck James noted the number of visits that Tribal members had paid to other Cabela's stores, which further cemented their belief that Cabela's caters to the overlapping demographics that the Tribes was already seeking to attract, from more local hunters and fishers to visitors coming off I-5.

"At one point, a tire store wanted to be here," James laughed. "That wouldn't have been a good fit. We wanted to stop traffic all the way from Seattle to Vancouver. Our outlet stores and Cabela's are how we feed the cash cow of our casino."

Jamie Gull, director of real estate for Cabela's, likewise praised the Quil Ceda Village location as offering high visibility from the freeway.

The Quil Ceda Village Cabela's is expected to hire an estimated 200 employees, and its building exterior will hew to the chain's traditional store model of log construction, stonework, wood siding and metal roofing, while its inside will be designed according to what the company has deemed its "next-generation layout," which is intended to immerse customers in an outdoor experience and will include conservation-themed wildlife displays and trophy animal mounts.

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