CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The first Cabela’s in New York State opened in Cheektowaga Thursday morning.
Cheektowaga Police have extra manpower in the Cabela’s parking lot and on the roads because 10,000 shoppers are expected to arrive at the store on Thursday. Hundreds of people waited outside overnight to be the first inside the store’s doors.
Andrew Staley showed up first. He arrived at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 25 hours before the grand opening. He says he did it because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Staley said, “Honestly my brother called me and told me that I should probably get over here, and it was a beautiful day so I figured why not?”
He wasn’t alone. More than 100 people camped out overnight. To pass the time people had to get creative.
Lancaster resident Alexis Sorrentino said, “I’ve been reading. I’ve been playing games. I’ve been sleeping.”
The first 500 customers received gift cards valued up to $500. When they step inside they found hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear.
Cabela’s Marketing Manager Donald Ashworth said, “We have men’s clothing, we have ladies clothing, kid’s clothing, our camping department, our footwear department. We also sell tractors, a lot people don’t realize Cabela’s sells tractors.”
Another thing customers might be excited about is that inside the 88,000-square foot store, there’s a fudge shop and deli called the Red Hawk Cafe.
Many customers couldn’t wait to get inside to check it all out.
Charles Nash of Lancaster said, “I know I want something for hunting, deer season is going to be coming up soon.”
Jermaine Lester of Buffalo said, “Stuff for myself and my kids.”
A spokesman for the company says the Western New York customer base is what drew corporate to the area.
Cabela’s Spokesman Nathan Borowski said, “We look at our online and our catalog sales to pinpoint some areas where we have a high volume of customers.“
Western New York and Canadians are expected to shop at the Cheektowaga location. Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs says this will bring a boost to local sales tax revenue.
Jacobs said, “I think you’re going to see people opting to come here for a couple days, shop at the Galleria, shop at Cabela’s, maybe do some tourist things here on the waterfront. So the more options we have, the more options we have of people deciding not to come here for a couple hours, but to come here for a couple days.”