A Canadian company that manufactures, packages and distributes dietary supplements has bought the former Cabela’s distribution center in Sidney, Nebraska, helping to fill a major void created when the outdoors outfitter was sold.

The new company, MMP Enterprises of Toronto, Canada, has estimated that over the next three years it will create 300 jobs, ranging from forklift operators to marketers and website developers, said Melissa Norgard, Sidney’s economic development director.

MMP Enterprises has signed a purchase agreement to acquire the former Cabela’s distribution center and will use it to warehouse and fulfill orders for clients in the food and supplements industry.

In addition, the firm has a sister company that manufacturers dietary supplements and sells them online. The firm has long-term plans to open a full-scale manufacturing facility, product research and development lab, and marketing operation on the 54-acre campus previously occupied by Cabela’s.

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Thursday’s announcement represents an expansion and broader vision on plans MMP first announced in January. And it was big news in Sidney and surrounding Cheyenne County, which had been left reeling after job losses from Cabela’s.

In 2017, Bass Pro Shops bought the Sidney-based retailer founded in 1961 . Cabela’s had employed 2,000 people at its headquarters, but Bass Pro consolidated operations at its own headquarters in Missouri.

Then three months ago, Bass Pro closed the former Cabela’s distribution center, putting some 121 local residents out of work. Now all that’s left of the Cabela’s operations in Sidney is a retail store and a limited corporate presence.

MMP had announced plans in January to buy a former Cabela’s corporate building and to bring 150 jobs to Sidney.

But when the Cabela’s distribution center suddenly became available in March, that changed everything. The distribution center better fit what MMP was looking to do in Sidney, said city manager Ed Sadler.

“That wasn’t available when they first looked at us,” Sadler said. “All the pieces and karma came together at one time.”

Mark Priemer, president of MMP, said it chose Sidney because of its central location and available pool of talented workers. The company said the location provides “rapid access to every person” in the contiguous United States.

According to the company’s online history, MMP was founded in 1981 to import and wholesale dietary, food and skin care products. It evolved into a logistical services provider for companies in the fast-growing pharmaceutical and natural supplements industry, assisting clients with warehousing, order fulfillment and quality assurance management. It also has clients in the cosmetics and foods industry.

Other services the firm provides include transborder customs clearance, inventory control and movement of customer orders anywhere in Canada and the United States.

MMP’s dietary supplements manufacturing arm is called Fairlawn Products. Priemer said his firm’s intention with Fairlawn is to work with area farmers to locally source as many ingredients as possible, from protein powders to vegetable oils.

Sadler, the city manager, said the firm has already been conducting interviews with former employees from the Cabela’s distribution facility.

“It’s nice,” Sadler said. “We keep plugging along.”

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Reporter - Metro News

Henry is a general assignment reporter, but his specialty is deep dives into state issues and public policy. He's also into the numbers behind a story, yet to meet a spreadsheet he didn't like. Follow him on Twitter @HenryCordes. Phone: 402-444-1130.

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