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OUR VIEW: Mitchell owes thanks to Cabela

We hope the Cabela family is receiving some expressions of sympathy from people in Mitchell this week.

Dick Cabela, 77, the co-founder of the Cabela's outdoor retailing chain, died Monday at his home in Sidney, Neb.

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Mitchell has benefited tremendously from Cabela and his company's decision to build a store here.

Interstate 90 was built south of Mitchell in 1967. Predictions of growth along the I-90 corridor were quick to crop up, but growth south of I-90 was slow in coming. As late as 1999, there was virtually no development along a vast stretch of that area.

That year came the announcement that a Cabela's retail store would be constructed south of I-90. It was a deal struck after years of negotiations involving Harold Hagen -- the former owner of Mitchell Plastics and Mitchell Manufacturing who had a hunting friendship with Dick Cabela -- and other city leaders.

The store opened a year later, 33 years after I-90 opened near Mitchell. Cabela's paid $2.1 million for its 120 acres of land on the south side of I-90.

The Cabela's store was the spark that ignited an explosion of business growth along the city's southern edge. Soon came Walmart, Menards, hotels, restaurants, strip malls and more. Cabela's and the numerous businesses built south of I-90 in the past 15 years now account for about $165 million in annual taxable sales.

Much of that is because of the company that Cabela and his wife, Mary, founded in 1961 when he bought $45 worth of hand-tied fishing flies during a trip to Chicago.

Dick Cabela's life is a great American success story, and Mitchell is fortunate to have come along for the ride.