I’m guessing every outdoor enthusiast in Nebraska wondered what was going to happen when Bass Pro bought out Cabela’s. It is sad to see such a Nebraska icon fading into history.
Highby Outdoors opened its virtual doors in Sidney last February. The company is made up of former Cabela’s employees who really weren’t ready to retire when the Cabela’s/Bass Pro deal was finalized. They still had a passion for the outdoors and helping people get what they needed to enjoy their time outside.
One of the first hurdles the new company faced was a law suit from Bass Pro on a violation of a non-compete clause that was in the contract with Cabela’s when Bass Pro purchased the company. The law suit proceeded and the court ruled in Highby Outdoor’s favor. The court said that although all the employees of Highby Outdoors were former Cabela’s employees, they did not represent the company from a contractual standpoint and Highby Outdoors was free to do business in the outdoor sports market.
Matt Highby is the president of the company. I talked with him when the business first opened and he allowed me to do a follow up piece with him since the company began its web-based business in February of this year.
“Well, we launched in February after our positive ruling in federal court. The other side has appealed the favorable decision the federal judge gave us, so we are now in the federal court of appeals, but we are still business as usual here while they sort that out,” Highby said.
“Word has been spreading fast about our great prices, customer service and the ability to get products customers can’t get anywhere else. We get phone calls from customers asking about items they want to buy that are not on our website and we have been able to help those customers with pricing that they can’t find in the stores or online”, Highby added. “We just completed a big order for an individual with the Minnesota Vikings. He was having a hard time getting what he wanted, and we were able to get him exactly what he wanted in 48 hours.”
“We also launched our www.suppressor.com website to help educate customers on how to buy a suppressor. Most people are afraid of the paperwork as they assume it is complex, but we are here to help them and make it simple for them to understand and even help them with the paperwork,” said Highby. “I would say every customer we have helped purchase a suppressor wondered why they waited so long. It makes shooting so enjoyable when you don’t have the loud crack of a gun and it takes a lot of the recoil out as well.”
“We have taken some customers to a range and let them shoot some different suppressors for free just to see what they are all about. So, if anyone would like to learn more, give us a call and we will do whatever it takes to help them out,” Highby added.
I asked Highby how his product line has grown in the seven months they have been in business. As you might imagine, there are a myriad of products introduced for the outdoors monthly.
“We have been busy adding products for fall to our website and picking up some great deals that have sold out fast. We keep finding deals and adding new products every day,” Highby noted. “We just finished up a deal with Redneck deer blinds so if any of your readers want to get the best there is for deer blinds give us a call.”
It sounds like things are going well for a company that is only seven months old and in a huge market. I asked Highby what is next for the company.
“We have developed quite the business with the level of customer service we are giving our customers. A lot of our business is coming in the form of special requests where we do all the hard work for a customer like complete rifle set ups where a customer wants a rifle to hunt elk and only has $1,000 to spend, doesn’t know what to get and doesn’t want to make a bad decision,” continued Highby. “We work together and put a package together with a rifle, scope, mounts, bipods, slings and find the best ammunition for the rifle. We sight the rifle in and ship it to the customer all set up ready to go with everything they need for a hunt. We can even program rangefinders to match ballistic curves or order ballistic turrets for customers who don’t have the time to figure it out. We do it all for free of course.”
“What we are doing takes a lot of effort on our end but we are giving customers back their time and that’s one thing you can’t put a price on,” stated Highby. “So, to answer your question what’s next for us… well, I would say we are going to keep giving our customers the best deals and outstanding customer service and see where this takes us.”
Sounds like a business model that is destined to be successful. Good Luck!