Dick Cabela, founder of Cabela’s, passes

Lone Star Outdoor News
By Conor Harrisonon – February 18, 2014

TXI-1681-600x350Cabela’s Incorporated announced that Richard N. Cabela, Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus, passed away yesterday at his home in Sidney. He was 77.

Dick, along with his wife, Mary, and brother, Jim, founded Cabela’s somewhat inadvertently in 1961 when he purchased $45 worth of hand-tied fishing flies while in Chicago on a furniture and housewares buying trip with his father for the family’s Chappell, Neb., furniture store. With the flies not moving off the store shelf, Dick came upon the idea of selling them through the mail. His first ad, in a Casper, Wyo., newspaper, produced one sale. Rethinking his situation, Dick placed an ad in Sports Afield magazine: “FREE introductory offer!!! 5 popular Grade A hand-tied flies. Send 25c for postage and handling …” Orders started coming in and Mary typed the names and addresses of each customer on recipe cards and placed them in a shoebox. Realizing the potential for mail-order sales, Dick purchased more fishing gear and he and Mary produced a three-page mimeographed catalog which was mailed with each order.

Today, Cabela’s is a $3.6 billion company with a worldwide catalog and Internet business and 50 stores in the United States and Canada.

Dick served as Chairman of the Board until June 2013, when he transitioned to Chairman Emeritus and Jim Cabela became Chairman.

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