What will Moncton do about Cabela's Court now that Cabela's has closed?

A Moncton spokesperson expects city council will discuss what to do about the street name Cabela's Court at an upcoming meeting now that the hunting, fishing and outdoor gear store has closed.

City spokesperson expects council will discuss the street name at an upcoming meeting

Brown paper and closed signs cover the windows of Cabela's in Moncton following its closure Thursday. (Gabrielle Fahmy/CBC)

​Now that Cabela's in Moncton has closed, the city will have to decide what to do about the street it named after the hunting, fishing and outdoor gear retailer.

The store closed abruptly on Thursday, after less than three years.

The company believes it can "better serve" its customers in the region with the existing Bass Pro Shops location in neighbouring Dieppe and the new Halifax-area Cabela's store, scheduled to open this spring, spokesman Nathan Borowski has said.

Before Cabela's opened in Moncton in 2015, the American retailer persuaded council to make an exception to a pending policy about not naming city streets after private companies.

Council voted on Jan. 20, 2014 to rename Portico Court to Cabela's Court — right before it passed the new street-naming policy.

It's too soon to comment on what will happen to Cabela's Court, city spokeswoman Isabelle LeBlanc told CBC News on Friday.

"We only found out about this mid-morning yesterday," she said in an email. "We learned about the closure at the same time as everyone else."

There is nothing on the March 19 council agenda yet, but council "will likely discuss [the street name] at an upcoming meeting," LeBlanc said.

Moncton council voted to rename Portico Court, Cabela's Court in January 2014, before the store even opened. (Google Street View)

When the 50,000-square-foot store opened in May 2015, about 150 people were hired for full time, part time and seasonal work.

"Most" of the 25 full-time employees are being given the opportunity to transfer to the stores in Dieppe or the Halifax area, the company spokesman said.

He did not respond to a request for information about how many other people have lost their jobs, when and how they were notified, or whether they'll receive any severance.

'More or less inevitable'

The company has no plans to close any other Canadian locations in the "foreseeable future," he said.

The interim CEO of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce believes the Moncton closure was "more or less inevitable" after Bass Pro bought Cabela's in a $4.5 billion US deal announced in October 2016.

"As much as New Brunswickers love their hunting and fishing gear, it might have been a stretch to think both could succeed over a long period," he said, referring to the Moncton Cabela's and Bass Pro location in Dieppe.

John Wishart also sees the closure as a sign of the times and part of a broader retail trend now that more people are shopping online.

"I think … fewer bricks and mortar stores are probably needed to serve the market, and the greater Moncton area is no different."

City had high hopes

The city expected the store would be a 'major tourism draw' for years to come. (CBC)

Daniel Bourgeois was the only councillor who disagreed in 2014 with renaming a street after Cabela's.

"We're saying on the one hand, 'Well since we haven't adopted [the new policy] yet, let's pass this one quickly, and then we'll stop doing it,'" Bourgeois had said.

But Bill Budd, the city's director of urban planning, had argued the U.S. outfitter deserved special status.

"It will have a significant impact on the city, it will be a major tourism draw," Budd said.​

Council had previously approved naming the street that leads to a Marriott hotel, Marriott Drive, prompting the new policy.

Many municipalities ban using commercial names for public streets to avoid any perception of a private enterprise having an economic advantage.

Cabela's has 10 locations in Canada, including Calgary and Edmonton, where it has two stores, Abbotsford and Nanaimo in B.C., Barrie and Ottawa in Ontario, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg, according to its website.

Moncton was the company's first store in Atlantic Canada.

With files from Information Morning Moncton