Business owners in Sidney, NE said sales are already slowing as residents wait to see what will happen to the 2,000 local Cabela’s jobs, according to a report from the Omaha-World Herald.
Cabela’s employs about a third of the residents of Sidney, a town of about 6,800.
“Everybody is so on edge here, it’s unreal,” Wendy Pemberton, owner of Della’s Cafe in Sidney, told the newspaper. The city had already been impacted by layoffs at Cabela’s over the past year.
The Omaha-World Herald also noted that more than 200 homes are already for sale in Sidney, but not many buyers are available with property values taking a hit.
On October 3, Bass Pro, based in Springfield, MO, announced that it had agreed to acquire Cabela’s in a deal valued at $5.5 billion. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2017.
At a meeting at Cabela’s headquarters about a week after the merger announcement, Bass Pro CEO Johnny Morris reassured Cabela’s employees that Bass Pro would retain a “significant” base of operations in Nebraska. But he also said he wouldn’t make “false promises” that all jobs are safe. The company is expected to seek synergies and reduce redundant jobs after the retailers combine. He told a group of employees, “There’s going to be change. There’s going to be some slimming down.”
Over the summer, Sidney officials retained consultants to study Cheyenne County’s demographics, workforce and what industries it might target for recruitment as well as to make a case for Bass Pro to retain employees.
City Councilman Mark Nienhueser told the Omaha-World Herald, “We’re going to put the best foot forward, for both the city and the state, in regards to what Bass Pro should keep. Certainly they’ll keep the corporate headquarters in Springfield, but it makes a lot of sense for them to continue having significant operations in Sidney.”