Johnny Morris Shares Open Letter on Cabela’s


After the historic announcement of Bass Pro Shops purchasing Cabela’s yesterday, an open letter from Johnny Morris to all of his employees at Bass Pro Shops, White River, Big Cedar team members, important vendors and significant conservation partners on the topic of “Uniting with Cabela’s” that they also shared with customers through a post on their website that included a hand-written note from Morris as well as answers to some frequently asked questions about the acquisition.

There was mention of “business as usual” for now for both brands until late in the first half of 2017 when the transaction will be finalized. They also mentioned the company will remain private. And it sounds like they intend to keep both companies separate and build off each one’s heritage while also helping with their other boat and hospitality operations.

Here is how the letter opened:

MEMO TO: All Bass Pro Shops, White River, Big Cedar Team Members, Important Vendors and Significant Conservation Partners
FROM: Johnny Morris
DATE: October 3, 2016
SUBJECT: Uniting with Cabela’s

I write this letter with the belief that it represents the most important expression of deeply held convictions regarding the future of our company that I may ever have the opportunity to convey. There is no way I can begin without first saying, THANK YOU TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU! Your hard work, passion and dedication to applying your extraordinary talents have made possible the exciting announcement we’re making today. 

This morning it is with tremendous pride and humility that I share with you the great news that Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have agreed to combine our two legendary brands to create a truly premier retailer in outdoor sporting goods. This merger of resources, experience and passion for the outdoors represents a unique opportunity for both organizations and their respective team members.

For many years I have believed there is a remarkable strategic fit between our companies. The prospect of bringing together our time-tested, iconic outdoor brands: Cabela’s — a leader in hunting, Bass Pro Shops — a leader in fishing, and White River Marine Group — a worldwide leader in boating, is very exciting!

In my view this really is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for both of our companies and clearly provides the foundation to create a “best of the best” shopping experience for all outdoor enthusiasts worldwide for generations to come. I truly believe combining our two companies in this transaction will benefit our collective associates and our vendors while enabling us to enhance our service and expand our products to better serve our valued customers.

I have enormous admiration for Cabela’s and the remarkable brand and business they have built. Cabela’s is a great American success story. Dick, Mary and Jim Cabela started the company at the family kitchen table when Dick decided to place an ad to sell fishing flies. From that humble start, the Cabela’s family, along with a remarkable team of “outfitters” has grown to become one of the premier specialty retail companies. Today Cabela’s nearly 19,000 outfitters operate 85 stores across the United States and Canada, offering merchandise and equipment for hunting, fishing, marine use, camping and many other outdoor activities as well as a best in class direct and e-commerce business …

You can find the entire letter, as well as Johnny Morris’ hand-written note and some answers to questions about the timing on the acquisition on this post on the website

What do you think about this brand combination?