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A Cabela's store

Sidney got a better handle on its future with a Bass Pro Shops-owned Cabela's.

The Springfield, Missouri-based company, which bought Sidney-based Cabela's last fall for $4 billion, said Thursday that 290 Sidney employees will leave the company this week as part of a voluntary buyout program.

Bass Pro last month offered voluntary buyouts of $40,000 to Cabela's headquarters employees 50 and older with at least 10 years of service, and $20,000 to other employees. That was in addition to standard severance payments of two weeks of pay for every year worked at the company.

Bass Pro spokesman Jack Wlezien said an additional 390 people applied for the voluntary severance program, but the company is delaying a decision "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."

Wlezien said Bass Pro plans to keep at least 500 employees in Sidney, between the corporate office, retail store and distribution center.

"A significant number of roles spanning IT, accounting, facilities, finance, human resources, logistics and procurement will remain in Sidney," Wlezien said in the email. "This number and the department roster could grow as more departments finalize their structure and teams. The exact headcount will be influenced in part upon the decisions made by individuals."

Cabela's at one time had more than 2,000 people working just at the corporate office.

As for the future of the physical Cabela's offices themselves, Bass Pro on Thursday started an aggressive marketing campaign for excess space.

The company took out a half-page ad in The Wall Street Journal offering what it says is $35 million worth of office space for $1 a year.

"Usually we're all about the catch," the ad reads. "This time, there isn't one."

The ad says the $1 price could get a company four buildings with a total of 550,000 square feet of space.

Wlezien said Bass Pro plans to spend more than $100,000 to advertise the buildings nationwide and also will continue to showcase the opportunity to its vendor network and through partnerships with the city and state to advance economic development in Sidney.

He also revealed that one former Cabela's executive, who wanted to remain anonymous, had accepted Bass Pro CEO Jonny Morris' challenge to contribute to a fund to help employees. The former executive contributed $700,000.

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On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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