Green From the Top Down

When it comes to its roof system, Cabela’s Inc. thinks green—literally. A distinctively shaped, green metal roof is one of the calling cards of the Sidney, Neb.-based company, which ranks as one of the nation’s largest retailers and direct marketers of outdoor apparel and gear.

Cabela’s posted total revenue of $2.06 billion in fiscal 2006 (including $820.3 million from its retail operations). Since going public in 2004, the company has been adding to its portfolio. With 19 stores nationwide, it recently embarked on a major expansion program that includes eight additional outlets in 2007.

The new stores will be built in Cabela’s trademark style, which seeks to re-create the look and feel of the great outdoors inside. Cabela’s stores blend retail with educational and entertainment attractions, mixing a decor of museum-quality animal displays, aquariums stocked with native fish and a towering mountain replica that features trophy animals in realistic re-creations of their natural habitats.

One of Cabela’s newest locations is its 128,000-sq.-ft. store in La Vista, Neb. The one-story facility is covered by some 28,000 sq. ft. of pre-finished green metal roofing, which, in concert with the wood and stone cladding on the exterior, projects the image of an upscale hunting or fishing lodge.

“Metal roofs offer a high quality of aesthetics, one that reflects Cabela’s image,” said Kevin Kuffa, senior project manager, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates Architects, Mechanicsburg, Pa., which designs Cabela’s stores nationwide.

Kuffa added that metal roofing, which can be used in combination with other roofing surfaces (the majority of Cabela’s roof surface, for example, is EPDM), is a great way to highlight portions of a building and to add architectural features.

Types of Roofing Used Source: Chain Store Age/Leo J. Shapiro & Associates Note: Totals of more than 100% are due to multiple responses.
 All stores 2007Drug store 2007Supermarket 2007Department store 2007Home Center 2007Specialty apparel 2007Big-box store 2007Hard lines specialty 2007
Single-ply membrane41.7%37.5%68.2%88.9%33.3%4.3%43.8%33.3%
Rubber28.150.036.433.350.04.318.833.3
Metal25.025.027.311.158.34.331.333.3
BUR [built-up roof]19.812.518.222.250.04.325.016.7
Shingle11.525.09.10.033.38.76.30.0
Foam4.20.00.00.025.00.06.30.0
Other6.30.09.10.00.04.36.333.3
None/Leased out28.125.00.00.08.382.625.016.7

Similar to most of Cabela’s stores, the roof on the La Vista facility features a high-bay area of wood deck and glue laminated wood structure, which runs down its center.

“The use of green standing-seam metal roof and translucent panels on the exterior of the high bay allows us to create a sense of space within the store, as well as visual appeal and hierarchy along the exterior,” Kuffa explained.

Aesthetics aside, the standing-seam metal roof used on Cabela’s stores generates important lifecycle cost benefits that help to offset part of the initial upfront outlay. Chief among these, according to Kuffa, is that a metal system requires little or no maintenance over its lifespan.

“So while the upfront cost is typically higher than that of non-metal roofing systems, metal requires little maintenance and does a better job retaining its aesthetic qualities,” he added. “It’s also very durable.”

Finally, metal roofing is sustainable, Kuffa said. It contains significant recycled content and is 100% recyclable at the end of its useful life. That is an important benefit for a company as committed to the outdoors and the environment as Cabela’s.

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