Greenville’s inventory of hunting, fishing and camping equipment is about to rise dramatically.
Cabela’s, the outdoor equipment chain, says it will stock tens of thousands of products in the store it plans to open April 3 at the Magnolia Park shopping center on Woodruff Road, much of it sold under the chain’s own brand name.
Members of the news media got a sneak peek of the merchandise on Thursday.
The advance walk down the aisles left Tommy Springer, co-host of the Upstate Outdoors show on Greenville’s WORD radio station, “floored,” he said.
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“Every gadget you can imagine, you can find it in one location. Unbelievable,” Springer said.
Springer, whose outdoor pursuits include traditional archery, said he was pleasantly surprised to find wooden, re-curved bows in the archery department.
“They even had wooden arrows in there that you could purchase with the real feather fletching on them,” he said.
The store, Cabela’s first in South Carolina, opens to the public on April 3. It is about 100 miles – an hour and a half drive -- from Columbia.
The chain is displaying its knowledge of the Upstate’s outdoor attractions with big signs in the camping department bearing the names of state parks along the State 11 scenic corridor — Table Rock, Oconee and Devil’s Fork. Other signs bear the name of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, Paris Mountain State Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Taxidermy is a hallmark of the chain’s stores, and the Greenville outlet is no exception.
It has 266 replicas of animals, including a water moccasin hanging from a fake cedar tree’s Spanish moss-covered limb.
LED lights double as fireflies in a massive hand-painted mural of a Southern lake above the firearms department.
The store also has two 8,000-gallon fish tanks, one of them holding the three kinds of trout found in the streams of northern Greenville, Pickens and Oconee counties — brook, brown and rainbow.
There’s also a 12-foot-long archery range where Cody Waldrop, an 18-year-old from Williamston who works as an archery outfitter in the store, will be glad to demonstrate how to hit the bull’s-eye.
Among the antique and collectible firearms in cabinets lined with green felt in the gun “library” is a Browning Custom Super 28-gauge shotgun priced at nearly $24,000.
Another unique product is camouflage clothing that changes color according to the temperature to reflect the foliage of the season.
Cabela’s spokesman Nathan Borowski said Cabela’s invented the fabric technology, and it’s been a big seller.
Anglers have their pick of 2,900 rods and 232 reels on the sales floor. Among the fly fishing products is a graphite rod by Sage that costs $775.
Phillip Gentry, the other co-host of Upstate Outdoors, said he was very impressed with the selection of fishing equipment.
Cabela’s “recognized that a lot of people from the Upstate travel to the coast and do a lot of saltwater fishing,” Gentry said. “So they carry a very ample selection of saltwater tackle, which is almost impossible to find in the Upstate.”