TUALATIN, Ore. (The Tribune) — Less than two weeks into September, the countdown has truly begun for the grand opening of the Nyberg Rivers Cabela’s on Sept. 18.
Throughout the 100,000-square-foot “new generation” layout, one theme stands out: This is meant to be an experience, not just a store.
“We’re ready to outfit people for whatever adventure they want to go on here in Oregon,” said marketing manager Shannon Jidas at last Thursday’s media preview event. “I’m most excited to open the doors and have people come and experience the store and experience what this is going to be like moving forward.”
The store, which provides jobs to 300 part- and full-time employees, pulled roughly 90 percent of its talent from Tualatin and the surrounding areas, said Jidas. This was done intentionally, and every outfitter was brought on because of a specific skill he or she brought to the table.
“What’s been really great is every single outfitter was brought in here because they’re good at something outdoors,” she said. “They’re experts. With my camping outfitters, they know exactly what tent to pick out because they camp the local forests. Our hunting outfitters, they hunt Mount Hood, so they can tell you exactly where to go. It’s really neat to have a lot of experts under one roof.”
The idea is that not only can avid backpackers walk in and receive knowledgeable service when finding the best gear for their weeks-long trip, but someone who’s never camped before can walk in and get the same kind of help. Regardless of skill level, Jidas said they want everyone to feel comfortable coming in and getting help from the outfitters. After all, that’s what they’re there for.
“It’s not just a big box company, we really pay attention to the details and what our customers need,” Jidas said.
Paying homage to hometown roots
While Nyberg Rivers Cabela’s put an emphasis on finding expert and local staff, extensive efforts also went into making the physical store specific to Tualatin and the Pacific Northwest.
Giant photos and maps of local state parks hang high on the wall, and taxidermy created by Oregon City-based artist Tim Brown are seen throughout the store.
Though he’d been speaking with Cabela’s since August 2013, Brown didn’t know he and his team from Natural Instincts Taxidermy had been chosen to create many of the installations until May.
So, for six weeks in June and July, each member of the five-person team worked 800 hours to complete the project.
“This is the largest single project in that amount of time that I’ve done,” he said. “It’s amazing. I haven’t really had a chance to just sit there and take it all in. I just can’t believe we were involved.”
The team’s involvement included creating 25 life-size mounts, five shoulder mounts and seven habitats. The pieces Brown and his team created can be found throughout the store and on “Conservation Mountain.”
The mountain rests near the back wall and is home to numerous taxidermy pieces all native to North America, with an emphasis on the Pacific Northwest. To help people learn about the animals they’re viewing, an interactive screen at the mountain’s base allows visitors to scroll through and learn about the various animals.
“They sent me a list of what animals they wanted, and then they sent us the pictures of the terrain that they wanted the habitats to simulate,” Brown said, adding that they chose to put many of the animals in action poses. “We decided if we were gonna do something, we were gonna do something that was out of the norm.”
Even the Nyberg and Martinazzi families are tied into the building’s design. Photos donated by the Tualatin Historical Society portray black and white images of the families who were ever important in placing Tualatin on the path it’s traveling today.
Without the Nybergs, who own the very property Cabela’s sits on, it’s impossible to know whether this development would have happened at all.
“The picture of my dad is right over the fireplace, taken down at Depot Bay when he caught that huge halibut — that’s a delight.
Because dad’s got that little smile like he’s really proud of everything that we’ve done and accomplished,” said Christine Nyberg Tunstall, who’s grandfather, John Nyberg, began buying farmland in what’s now Tualatin in 1985.Her father, Clayton Nyberg, continued purchasing the land where Nyberg Rivers is taking shape.
The picture of her father, which hangs prominently in Cabela’s, also hangs in her family’s beach house at Depot Bay.
“I’m the only one that’s seen it in the store,” she said. “They’re going to be so blown away, the family.”
Nyberg Rivers is formed out of redeveloped and newly developed property, and Cabela’s is nearly ready for its public unveiling on Thursday, Sept. 18, following months of construction.
The ribbon will be cut at 10:45 a.m. (well, less of a cut and more of an arrow shooting), and doors open at 11 a.m. Jidas anticipates that won’t be early enough for some enthusiasts, however, and it’s expected people will camp out the night before. All together, at least several thousand visitors are expected for the grand opening.
“We’re just excited to get open and started,” said Jidas. “So much hard work has been put into this, so it’s going to be really nice to open the doors and just show it off to everybody.”