New store provides resource for local anglers

Competition for local anglers’ dollars will increase later this month when the iconic Bass Pro Shops brand opens a new store in Niles’ Eastwood Mall complex.

To be known as Bass Pro Shops Outpost, the new store will sell top name-brand fishing equipment, along with Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Signature Series rods, reels and terminal baits and tackle relevant to the fisheries in Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, according to a spokesperson for Bass Pro Shops.

“This new location will make it easier for families to spend time enjoying nature together,” store general manager Bruce Miller said. “At Bass Pro Shops, our primary focus is our customers and we strive to give legendary customer service and inspire everyone to enjoy, love, and conserve the great outdoors.”

Bass Pro Shops Outpost’s official opening date will be announced soon. The store will join fishing superstores Fisherman’s Central and Fin Feather Fur Outfitters, along with Dick’s Sporting Goods and local bait and tackle stores in seeking Northeast Ohio anglers’ investments in lures, tackle and accessories.

Fisherman’s Central owner David Waikem noted his retail stores in New Franklin (near Akron) and Port Clinton differentiate from Bass Pro Shops in focusing on the hyperlocal NE Ohio and Lake Erie niche markets.

“The hottest-selling items nationwide are not always the most desirable locally,” Waikem said in noting that Bass Pro Shops will have a large selection of popular name-brand products. “For example, if you want the lesser-known but highly effective niche lures or the $60 glide baits or $20 Rico poppers, we have them on our shelves. They’re in our wheelhouse because we have the ability to react to hot products and stock them in our two stores without having to ship and stock them in 50 stores nationwide.”

Bass Pro Shops has experienced tremendous growth since the 1970s when the brand took root as a pulp catalog mail and phone order house. The brand grew to brick and mortar retail stores in key large markets in the U.S. close to great fishing destinations. Along the way, BPS has joined a host of other online retailers.

Waikem said he saw the competition from web providers like Land Big Fish, Tackle Warehouse BPS and others coming years ago and added online ordering for Fisherman’s Central customers.

“But still 90 percent of our sales is from walk-in customers,” he said. “We try to be really good at one thing and don’t try to compete beyond our niche.”

Fisherman’s Central is totally fishing focused, including its line of performance Phoenix, Skeeter and Vexus boats, and G3 budget boats along with Yamaha and Suzuki outboard motors.

“We sell fishing 100 percent,” Waikem said. “Our customers come to the stores and know they are talking to experienced fishermen. It’s about the customer experience and building relationships. We’re not here to sell you, but rather to help you buy what you need and want.”

The Bass Pro Shops Outpost store also will showcase boat brands including Tracker, Nitro, Sun Tracker, Regency and Tahoe. Built by Bass Pro’s White River Marine Group, the store’s inventory will be tailored to the needs of fishermen in the region.

BPS Outpost plans to have several of the nation’s top anglers, friends of Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and local dignitaries at the grand opening celebration on a date to be announced.

In the meantime, Miller said, “We have hired and trained many of the surrounding areas’ passionate outdoorsmen and women and local outdoor enthusiasts to provide the legendary customer service that Bass Pro Shops is known for.

“While most of our positions have been filled, there are still about a dozen openings that are available. Friendly individuals who love the outdoors are encouraged to apply at http://careers.basspro.com,” Miller said.

Normal hours of operations will be Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 pm. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Jack Wollitz is the author of “The Common Angler,” a book about the passion anglers have for fishing and the joys we experience on the water. To contact Jack, email jackbbaass@gmail.com.


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