CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Yep. It's big. And it holds a lot of stuff.
Cabela's officials on Tuesday gave local media an advance peek at their new Charleston store, and revealed that the 80,000-square-foot facility contains nearly as many retail items as their gigantic 120,000-square-foot megastore in Wheeling.
"All told, we'll have 70,000 [stock-keeping unit] numbers in inventory here," said store manager Matt Leary. "That's almost the same SKU count as Wheeling."
Leary said the Charleston store can hold that many items in two-thirds the floor space because its display areas have been modified.
"The gondolas -- the shelf and pegboard units that hold the items -- are narrower than the ones in Wheeling," he explained. "We can fit more gondolas onto a smaller floor space and still maintain nice, roomy aisles."
As always, Cabela's architects have designed the store to make customers look around and say, "Wow!" as they enter through the doors.
The glass-walled front entrance contains a dramatic taxidermy display that depicts a grizzly bear and a mountain lion snarling at one another over a mule deer carcass. High on the walls on either side are taxidermy displays dedicated to elk and black bears. A mounted bison head hangs nearby.
"That's for the Marshall folks," joked Chris Walls, Cabela's special-events coordinator.
A central aisle under a vaulted ceiling leads to a mountainous diorama that contains trophy mounts of all of North America's big-game species. High overhead, the aisle's walls feature mini dioramas of dramatic wildlife scenes, backed by painted murals that give the taxidermy a sense of place.
"In all, we have 243 pieces of taxidermy in the store," Walls said. "One guy -- Paul Manktelow -- painted all of the backdrops. He did every one of them by hand, without templates."
To the side of the big-game mountain sits a 4,500-gallon aquarium stocked with bluegills, bass, carp and baitfish. Walls said it eventually would hold several more fish species, all native to West Virginia.
All told, there are 12 separate retail areas under the building's soaring roof.
"We have a gun area, an archery area, a fishing area, a fly-fishing area, a camping area, a footwear area, a hunting accessories area, a power sports area for marine motors and [all-terrain vehicles], an apparel area with camouflage and casual clothing for both men and women, a gun library, a gift area and a deli area," store manager Leary said.
The store wasn't originally supposed to carry ATVs, but Cabela's officials included one when they learned that a major trailhead for the nationally renowned Hatfield-McCoy Trail was located just 15 miles down the highway.