Cabela’s loss translates to a population hit in Sidney’s Cheyenne County

Cabela’s loss translates to a population hit in Sidney’s Cheyenne County
Cabela's headquarters in Sidney, Nebraska, is seen in December 2016. MEGAN FARMER/THE WORLD-HERALD

The former home of Cabela’s headquarters has taken a population hit after the company’s sale and the departure of a major corporate headquarters.

Between 2017 and 2018, Cheyenne County lost nearly 350 people, according to new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

That’s on top of a nearly 390-person loss the year before, and a loss of some 90 people the year before that, the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Center for Public Affairs Research said.

Compared to 2010, Cheyenne County has seen its population drop by nearly 7%.

The latest population figure of 9,310 represents the county’s smallest number since 1920, bringing it to the lowest point in nearly 100 years, according to the Center for Public Affairs Research.

“We knew that was going to hit that area hard,” said David Drozd, a census expert and research coordinator for the center.

Bass Pro Shops bought the Sidney-based retailer in 2017. Cabela’s had employed 2,000 people at its headquarters, but Bass Pro consolidated operations at its own headquarters in Missouri.

In the wake of the sale, former Cabela’s staffers have started two different outdoors businesses in Sidney, Highby Outdoors and NexGen Outfitters. In January, Toronto-based company MMP Enterprises announced that it would locate 155 new jobs in Sidney at the former Cabela’s building, according to the local economic development partnership. The company works in logistics and the natural health products industry.

“The lights are certainly still on,” Melissa Norgard, the local economic development director, wrote in the Cheyenne County Chamber’s March newsletter.