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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just wanted to see if I could get some responses in regards to starting a Bait and Tackle business. I have about 5 years to plan my next career choice. I am wanting to start a small business dealing in bait and tackle. It will range from fresh to saltwater, live bait, and possibly some charters if I can find the captains to run them. I plan to have the sales of various product lines in about 2 years but it would be online due to my current job. My main thing right now is looking at possible locations to be successful for the actual store.

What is your opinion on the Southport area needing very diverse bait and tackle store?

Please respond whether its positive or negative.
 

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Guess it would all boil down to how big of a shop you want to have. A lot to look at opening a fishing store in most areas. Check out the local area and see what stores are there now. How can you fill in a niche of your own, tackle, fly fishing, guides etc.

I don't go down that far along the coast so not sure where the other tackle shops are.
 

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Do you like to fish? If so, I would advise you against this. I purchased my boat from Matt at Chasin Tails. It was in immaculate shape for a boat that was at the time 5 years old. I struggled to keep it clean and I cleaned it inside and out after every trip. A few months went by and I was standing outside of his shop talking to him and admiring his new boat. It was in immaculate shape, showroom floor clean. I asked him what was his secret. He told me it was easy, he never had time to fish.
 

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Unless you have money and can invest in store managers etc do be there for you. It does seem very like a very appealing way to make a living but the amount of tackle out there to choose whether or not to carry is absolutely mind blowing.
 

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Unless you have money and can invest in store managers etc do be there for you. It does seem very like a very appealing way to make a living but the amount of tackle out there to choose whether or not to carry is absolutely mind blowing.
That's actually the easy part with companies such as Big Rock and the technology they have available today. I'm sure Steve will come along and offer some insider advice when he sees this post.
 

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Red X Angler
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another thing to keep in mind is your suppliers control a lot of your pricing. You will not have the ability to undercut the competitors by much nor very often on big named products. Being "popular" is going to require having the location, the parking, the knowledge and the attitude that customers want. Nothing turns me off quicker than asking a salesperson a question about a bait or product such as how you rig it, does it do this or that, only to have them start looking at the package or reading stuff off the computer screen. I could have done that myself and already have before I ask, I want real hands on information.
Never shun the little guy. He might want minnows and worms to feed his family fish, he doesn't need anyone making him feel like less of a fisherman for not using artificials, or being ignored because Mr Bigboat Offshore just walked in the door and might want a $200 pair of sunglasses. I have left my stuff laying on the counter more than once for such reasons and I don't forget it.

I would love to have a shop myself, pushing locally and small business made baits etc over the big names which I would stock but not in great volume. But the idea of being too busy to fish scares me. You need to be open early in the morning and on weekends, I cant stand the local shops here that close at 5pm and on weekends, makes NO sense to me. After work, early in the morning and weekends is when people need for you to be open.
 

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I just wanted to see if I could get some responses in regards to starting a Bait and Tackle business. I have about 5 years to plan my next career choice. I am wanting to start a small business dealing in bait and tackle. It will range from fresh to saltwater, live bait, and possibly some charters if I can find the captains to run them. I plan to have the sales of various product lines in about 2 years but it would be online due to my current job. My main thing right now is looking at possible locations to be successful for the actual store.

What is your opinion on the Southport area needing very diverse bait and tackle store?

Please respond whether its positive or negative.
Southport already has two tackle shops, dutchmans and wildlife bait and tackle so I would consider oak island. I think oak island(just the island) only has 1 decent tackle shop and its a true value with HIGH priced merchandise( hint hint oak island needs a GOOD tackle shop with normal prices)I think a tackle shop near blue water marina or somewhere on oak island would do good if they priced their stuff right and had a wide selection. People on oak island don't need to spend $10 on a mirrolure like they do at true value.
 

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Red X Angler
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another issue is the right location will usually have a BIG price tag as well.
 
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Oak island also has island tackle I think the name is. Never found much in there. Overhead is going to kill your business in Southport proper. There have been 2 that closed over there in the past year or so. I think Jimmy price at wildlife has the best selection in the area that I've found.
 

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I'd like to communicate with you about this post. I have considerable experience in this industry after spending over 40 years in it. I ran the sales division of one of the largest outdoor wholesalers in the country and advised dozens (if not hundreds) of folks who had the same desire you've expressed. I can promise you that I'll be candid and provide you with enough financial information so that you'll be able to make an informed, rational decision based on an wide range of factors. Drop me a PM with your contact data on it and look for the one I'll send you in a minute.
 

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I have had extensive conversations with a few buddies who are or were in the retail tackle business.

One buddy started a store in a small downtown historic district (aka high rent district). By having high rent, his pricing on alot of items was outrageous. He also sold high end outdoor clothing and like items to appeal more to the local demographic as these items had alot better profit margin than tackle, he lasted about 2 years at best before selling out. His advice to his friend who bought it, "get out of the tackle business". It wasnt because lack of business knowledge either as he was a CEO for a major company at one time.

Another guy I fish with does the purchasing for a tackle store in the Richmond VA area. Kind of like my first story, they are in a high rent strip mall right off 95 and have a reputation for rediculous prices, he says without clothing sales, there is no way they could survive on tackle alone. There just isnt enough room to make a profit and still remain competitive with online and big box stores.

Another store owner I know has a small hole in the wall store packed to the gills with good stuff and fair pricing. He is in close enough proximity to some popular fishing waters to do a fair amount of business on livebait and last minute tackle purchases on the way to the lake. From the way he talks he is barely breaking even on the store and living off his wifes check. He also puts in alot of hours running the store.

It seems to me that the little guys who survive and do well are running 1/2 tackle store, 1/2 something else. Bobcats in Clarksville is pretty much a full blown convience store with an extensive tackle section, they are also in a great spot right next to Kerr Lake in a building that probably isnt/didnt cost them a fortune. The Candy Store out there around the Yadkin chain is a full blown candy company making and selling candy, the tackle section was an after thought. Another guy I know who runs a store manufactures spinerbaits, jigs and alot of other stuff. Probably 1/2 the stuff he sells he makes so he can set his own prices on alot of his stuff (guessing he can make a $3 jig for about .50) as well as selling to other stores.
 

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Red X Angler
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I considered a Tackle Truck, like a food truck. Mobile sales, just stick to the things guys use/need the most and a lot of "mom and pop" made lures. But locations would always be a factor. You cant set up on state property, so ramps are out. A lot of people now, myself included, will hit a tackle shop on occasion for "fun" or to check out something new to the market they have heard about. Rapala Shadow Raps for example, then get online and buy in bulk or for the lower pricing and convenience. Otherwise they only hit a tackle shop when the need is immediate. Shops used to be the place you got your local info, what's biting, where, what colors styles work this week etc but the internet and fishing forums killed a lot of that. So foot traffic is way down.
I can read some forums, check reviews and order online. Not good for small business but as personal finances dwindle price becomes the main factor..
 

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I considered a Tackle Truck, like a food truck. Mobile sales, just stick to the things guys use/need the most and a lot of "mom and pop" made lures. But locations would always be a factor. You cant set up on state property, so ramps are out.
I know a guy who did that. He pretty much sold stuff out of the tool boxes in his pickup. Most of his business was to buddies and word of mouth. He wouldnt park his truck at the boat ramp with a big flashy sign on a busy Saturday advertising to anyone who came by, he kept a low profile and sold to the tournament fishermen at the ramp, he blended in with the crowd, if the man showed up he wouldnt suspect a thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks guys for all of the input. I am retiring from the military in a few years and starting a business is one of my dreams. I have fished all over the East Coast as well as the Gulf of Mexico and I honestly can say I can count on my hands the friendly bait and tackle shops to go to. I want to establish something that not only appeals to full time fisherman but also a place a guy can bring his kids to buy some worms and minnows and go fish the bank. I also want to offer advice to the week end warriors. I am honestly tired of fisherman treating it like some secret society. This is not a venture to make myself rich, I want to pass along a hobby that I have grown to love.

Once again thanks for the input I knew if I put it out to some NC boys I would get some good responses as well as hospitality. I currently live in Destin Florida, which is supposedly the "luckiest fishing village in the world" its all about the money here and not the recreation and family outings that fishing is for me. I am moving back to NC soon and I cannot wait.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is the common thought process that I get from guys and will be my largest issue by far. I plan to run it as a family but I also know eventually I would have to have a good manager if I want to have any type of life outside of the business. Nothing is set Iam just looking at some options
 

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I wouldn't open a tackle shop with the competition today...I have aprox 3 rows of tackle in my store and it does decent but i have no competition .....

I would try something like Monks Tackle does.....he specializes in Crappie tackle and has a big pull behind trailer like what a race car team would use.. He has that as his shop at his house and he pulls it to fishing shows . You could specialize in something else.
 

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I work at a Tackle store. We are open 7 days a week from 7 to 7 Monday thru Saturday and 7-6 on Sunday. We are closed only 2 days a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. We have about 1.5 mil in inventory. We just sell fishing tackle. I work Thur thru Sunday, I do get some time to fish...:)

There are a lot of things that arent' seen by most people. Someone has to order stock, put up stock, sweep and mop, just general things in the store to keep things running.

So you will need not only a building but a lot of up front money for tackle and a lot of it.

Check us out if you are in the area.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/E-Z-Bait-and-Tackle/266661471972?ref=hl
www.ezbaitandtackle.com
 
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