By Don Ogle
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Bass Pro Updates Cabela's Campus Plans, Early Retirement Response


March 14, 2018

Bass Pro Shops announced in a memo late last week an update in its plans, along with the announcement of a campaign advertising buildings for lease following changes to its Sidney Cabela’s campus.

In its memo, Bass Pro announced it is investing more than $100,000 in an advertising campaign that began Thursday with an ad in the Wall Street Journal. The ad leads off with the header, “Usually We’re All About The Catch. This Time There Isn’t One.” It follows with the offer of leasing world-class buildings for $1 per year, promising “great buildings, and great people, waiting for you in Sidney, NE.”

The ad says the company is offering four buildings for rent.

In the memo, Bass Pro outlined its approach to Cabela’s, saying “these actions reflect our goals to ensure the sustainable long-term success of the company, and to go above and beyond what is required to support those impacted, particularly in Sidney.”

Bass Pro said in addition to marketing the buildings to attract employers and the ad campaign, the company continues to showcase the opportunities in Sidney through its vendor network and through partnerships with the city and state. The memo said Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris has personally reached out to the Sidney Public School system and is providing support for local education programs.

Sidney Super-intendent Jay Ehler said while he has had productive talks with Morris, plans aren’t complete and aren’t ready to become public at this time.

As for personnel, Bass Pro said its plans are not finalized, but the company expects to maintain at lease 500 local jobs in corporate, retail and the distribution center. The company said it will maintain a “significant” number of roles in IT, accounting, facilities, finance, human resources, logistics and procurement in Sidney.

The company’s plans will become more finalized as more departments see how many employees leave under the company’s Voluntary Retirement Plan. Under that plan, employees could earn payouts above and beyond their normal severance packages up to $40,000 for long-time employees.

The Bass Pro memo said approximately 290 team members chose to exit the organization last week.

The memo said an additional group of approximately 390 team members also volunteered to exit, and the company is postponing any action for those individuals for an extended period of time to allow the leadership team to determine the appropriate organizational structure, including finalizing what opportunities will be available in Sidney and other locations. Should an individual’s position be eliminated by the end of the extended period, or should they choose not to relocate for their role, they will still receive their full voluntary package.

Bass Pro Shops and its founder Johnny Morris committed more than $20 million in total support for individuals in Sidney exiting the company. In response to the challenge pledge to match contributions from those who benefitted greatly financially from the sale of Cabela’s, one former executive who wishes to remain anonymous has made a generous contribution of $700,000 toward the fund.

The company is also providing, at its own expense, career consultation and additional support resources for team members exiting the company. Those services are being provided free of charge to team members.


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