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early007

What do you look for in a good bait shop?

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Hi everyone, I'm hoping that I could get some input from you. What do you look for in a good bait and tackle shop? What makes you a return customer? What is most important to you as a customer? I'm now running a shop in Nisswa, which is a pretty competitive market. I'm trying to build my business up again. I figure who better to ask than the customer. So far I've extended my business hours, stocked larger quantities of live bait and started a guide service. If you could give me any tips I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Jason Erlandson
Dave's Sportland Bait and Tackle
Nisswa MN
218-963-2401

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Good Location. No reason to have a bait shop ten miles from the nearest lake. Good bait choices. I don't want to go in to find just a few choices. Have crawlers, leeches(sm.med.lg.x-lg.), and sev. different kinds of minnows(crappies,fatheads,shiners,few different sizes of sucker) and waxies AND eurolarvae in the winter. Competitve prices. Homely feeling, be friendly, I hate going into Gander Mountain and standing in a long line with just ring it up and get em out attitude. I like chatting to the owners, etc. Know what is going on with the fishing activity and locations. And I don't care much about a bait store having too much equipment, but should have the necessities. That's my two cents. Good luck with your business, I hope to start one myself some day.

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O, I almost forgot. Gotta have a pic board with customers pics and your own. Love to look at whats been coming in before I go out and try to get my own!

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Try to have current and accurate info for your area, including what's biting where, when etc., ice conditions(in season), special regulations/restrictions for area waters. If possible, hire only persons who fish and are interested in fishing.
Good luck, I hope your business does well.
Ol Sneller

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I am old fashioned.
I come back if I get a smile.
Next to that in order would be.
Good bait
Good advice
A good selection of tackle that is used in the area.
Last but not least is an FM sticker in the window.
I just like to support my freinds. smile.gif

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Have to have good hours. 6AM to 6PM is fair, but on Sunday morning your doors are locked till 10AM, I'm headed down the road. Other than that, I like a place that is friendly and has good info. I like to patronize a place that is something like visiting an old friend.

[This message has been edited by Mr55371 (edited 12-21-2003).]

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Good bait and tackle selection, good quality bait, healthy quantities of bait for my money, open by 5:00 am on weekends and a friendly smile.

Do all of this and I will be a loyal customer.

Good luck on your business!

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I regularly fish a lake 20miles east. I fish for Crappie & Walleye, & use a ton of minnows.

The local bait store "counts" a dozen minnows "11-12". If they drop an extra one in, they scoop it out. Literally. I don't shop there anymore.

My favorite bait shop is 10miles west. I asked them "how many minnows are in a dozen?" The answer was "about 50." One day I bought 4dozen. As I dumped the lefovers, I counted over 150 at the end of a 75-crappie day. I'm pretty good at math, & am pretty sure 150 is more than 48.

I now shop there almost exclusively. I try to stop by the night before, but have made the additional 45minute trip several mornings.

I'm an absolutely devoted customer to "Presley's South Side Worm Ranch" in Peoria. They've won a lot of business from me as a result of treating me like they value my business, giving me a good deal, and always dealing with integrity.

I'll go out of my way to do business with them, because I know they'll go out of their way for me.

- Business 101.

Good luck,
Paul

------------------
Fish on,
Paul

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to me its usualy all the person behind the counter. bait, most places are about the same, but you cant beat that walk in the door and feel welcome feeling.

I feel for the guy/gal expected to give out the "hot spot" on a daily bassis. it cant be easy and ya cant send em all to the same place either. but good general info is allways appreciated for a particular lake.

ones attitude usualy sums it up for me.

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Good bait, good person behind the counter, good tackle, good supply of tackle, good variety of tackle and every thing organized. Thats the best bait shop in my eyes!
It is also cool to have pictures of fish on the wall!

------------------
AKA PikeEye 300

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A place that apreciates and values my bussiness. If I sense that Im just another dollar bill Im gone. I do most of my bussiness in 1 baitstore for those reasons. I buy rods, reals and everything else from them. Yes they give me a discount and that lets me know they will go the extre mile to keep my bussiness. As stated above good hours, good fresh bait, a smile and conversation, tackle for all seasons and species and reliable fishing info are also a must. Location is also important but I will drive out of my way to get the above rather than get average or worse service.

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Also have some things in there that other stores wont carry. Like for ex glow devils and angle eye lures. Another example is when I go to cabelas (hour drive) the only reason I go there is b/c they have fishing stuff that other stores dont, some of their stuff is cheap and you can get it at a good price.

------------------
AKA PikeEye 300

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Customer service is important. If the people working there are polite and are open with the customer then it makes the experience a posistive one. It's nice to walk into a bait shop and get greeted and a little fishing talk is always a must smile.gif Maybe share a tip or two and let the customer know whats biting. Not necessarily where all the hot spots are, just what the action is like out on the lake. I guess a good variety of bait is good too. If I know that a baitshop doesn't carry euro larave I won't go there, not because its a bad baitshop, but because I always like fishing with euro larave. Thats just an example. To tell you the truth, I haven't gone to a baitshop that I really disliked, I mean afterall, their sport is fishing smile.gif

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

------------------
First Choice Guide Service

[email protected]
Catch-N Tackle and Bio Bait
MarCum

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I'll go out of my way for a good bait selection, and I'll really go out of my way if the can at least act like they want mte in there. I don't really care how good the product selection is along as you have good bait and a smile.

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Jason:

I read your post but not any of the subsequent answers, so this is simply what occurs to me, without influence.

I must be able to buy the bait I need when I need it. If I walk in at 7 a.m. and want light pike suckers, heavy pike suckers or larger golden shiners won't do. Nor will 3-inch rainbows. I want what I want when I want it.

I want it lively. If the bait is a week old, I don't care, as long as it's lively, which certainly is possible for bait getting good care. Fresh is certainly best, but lively is the more important.

What I don't want to hear is: We'll have those by this time tomorrow. Obviously, that'll do me no good, since I'm trying to buy bait at this time TODAY.

Being in the business, it's hard for you to know exactly how much of each size/type of bait needed. I sympathize with you there. Supply and demand is a nasty little equalizer, and it takes some practice to learn a clientele's needs.

I don't want to be gouged, either. I live at what is fondly called the "end of the road" in Ely. Sure, bait prices are higher here, since if you wait until the end of the road to buy you're going to shell out. But take a decent margin, not enough to make Bill Gates jealous.

Now, the very first and most important thing I look for in a bait shop is what I just said. But the second important thing is information. No, I'm not looking to get hotspots pinpointed and GPS coords provided. If I'm after crappies and you tell me that medium-sized lake X is pumping them out, I can go to that lake and (if it's unfamiliar and I have a map) figure it out. If it's a tiny lake, keep your mouth shut, because I have no right asking you for that information. If it's a giant lake, put me in the ballpark with locations and techniques.

A bait store should sell not only excellent bait, but be a good source of information and provide the standard local tackle that people use to get fish.

And if you have a coffee pot brewing and a few tables and chairs, you'll get more folks stopping in to provide that good info.

I'd love to point out excellent bait shops I've known as well as the poor ones so you can all get an idea what I'm talking about, but I figure you get the picture, and it won't do to bash individual operations.

Probably more than what you were looking for, but there it is.

------------------
"Worry less, fish more."
Steve Foss
[email protected]

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Location is a good start though it does'nt have to be on the way.
I like to walk in and feel like they really want me there nI don't like being followed by someone dusting the shelves behind me. Bait selection is good too, I usually avoid the shops that have dead minnows floating in the tubs (a couple is ok but not too many) Price is a must I like to save money too, I don't worry about .10 on minnows but several $ on a portable can mean a lot. Hot coffee! this is a must! When they say dont worry about the coffee when they ring you up? That is good points too.
And the number one reason for my return to your bait shop.
When I was handed my change I was given a nice smile and 5 words. THANK YOU and good luck! Advice is good but most of all I like to be appreciated for being the customer.
I stick with Chalstrom's and Fishermans Corner they both are a good group of professionals in this field.

------------------
en kala
(I fish)

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At least for Sportland the idea that you've changed to have "normal" hours that really helps. You need to have a schedule that you follow. Not this open monday....tuesday I don't feel like it, open wed, thurs.........Friday I'm out of here. At least this helps and I've heard of the Sportland of old. But a friendly smile and good bait is always a plus. That and a dozen shiners should equal at least 15!!

------------------
Tight Lines,

JP Z

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My number one thing is be friendly. Don't talk down to people or make them feel like they don't belong. One of the first times I fished Mille Lacs (a few years ago) I stopped at a bait shop and, before looking at the sign, asked for a scoop of "chubs." In a gruff voice the guy says, "We don't sell chubs here," and went on with his chores without clarifying with me what I really wanted. Well, I'm staring at this big tank of what are called "chubs" up north and finally seeing the FATHEAD sign I say fatheads. He responds by saying if I wanted fatheads in the first place I should've said fatheads---and not in a nice tone. Needless to say I have not been back, (and yes I have learned to say "fatheads" down here and "chubs" when I am back home.) Everytime I drive by that place, that's what I think of. Bottom line is be friendly, polite, etc. I've worked in the dry ice business packing coolers of fish and I know some days it just kills you to put on a smile and show everyone respect, but that's what you need to do.

Just my opinion.

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I'm with 89Bronco. I have 3 local bait stores, one of which is really well known in the west metro as they're on the 'beaten path'. They also have alot of good gear and are very organized.

I used to actually frequent this place as opposed to retail stores since I like to support the 'little guy'. Without 'little guys' I'd need to drive 30 minutes to get to a retailer! I even bought a Vexilar from them at a little higher cost instead of a retailer just to give him my business. This shop is 6 miles from my house, and at first I drove there even though there's a shop 4 blocks from my house.

I thought I needed to frequent them to get to know them a bit and develop the chit chat repoire. Nope...they're just a shop full of 'insert explative here'.

I will not go there anymore. The shop near my house (right on the lake) has great bait, but they're disorganized and hire a bunch of youngsters who could care less if you're fishing with the bait or starting an aquarium.

The 3rd place is a gas station/bait shop about 5-6 miles from me. The people there are awesome! They have just the essential gear + snacks which as you know are necessary for ice fishing. The ladies there, although not fisherpeople, try to remember all the 'bite' stories. I usually fish what I want, not always what's biting on a certain lake, but it's so nice to have a shop that makes you feel at home in.

My 2 bits.

------------------
"There are many fish in the sea...but you're the only one I'd like to mount over my fireplace"
--Walter Mathau

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Friendly sales folks...is the key.
Free coffee helps!
Keep up stock on hot colors.
Please open early on weekends & don't leave for lunch.
Welcome all salesmen (they buy too).
All Catch-N Tackle products are available to tackle & bait shops... 507.202.0312
Catch-N
Dave Hoggard

------------------
Fishermen are catch-n on
Catch'n Tackle
For Bass, Walleye, Pike, Lakers, Trout, Panfish
Used by FishingMN Family

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Somethings that I look for would be customer service and general information.

I was once looking for two new spinning reels and not sure what to get. I went to one place and was not even greeted. I felt like a bother. I went to the next place and low and behold, I found a guy who talked to me for over an hour. I ended up buying the two reels that I was looking for, and then went back there for a whole new set-up a few months later. Just be NICE!!

One other thing I found at Ghotierman's shop in Alexandria, a dry erase board with what is going on in various lakes. A nice way to stay up to date if they are really busy and can't take the time that they normally give.

-Hossienda

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If I walk into a bait shop, and it smells like a cleaning shack in the middle of August, I seldom return. To me that is a sign the bait is not well looked after and folks don't care much at all.

It does not have to smell like an Aroma Therapy Salon, just not nasty is all. wink.gif

Busy shops get asked the same stuff, 100 times a day, every day, day in and day out, and some guys show this in their demeanor.

One shop in a very high use area had a particularly smart Alick guy behind the counter. When asked simple questions like "Whats hot for the walleye and where has it been good", he would respond with stuff like this. "Well, you head out on the lake and look for a bunch of guys going this, that's a good start" he would then make a jigging motion with his arm and walk off in a huff. So much for customer relations Eh? I seen this and was shocked this guy worked in a bait shop, If it were my shop, I would can him on the spot for such poor manors, and ask him to apologize to the customer! Stress or not, that is rude and uncalled for.

If you get bombarded by the same-same type questions every day try this.

Post a chalk board by the bait tanks where reports and tips can be easily seen.

That way folks get tips and you thin out repeat questions. Hang the Polaroids near, hang the hot lures so they can be found easily. Soon this will become the first stop when folks walk in the door for bait. Good for the angler, and simplifies your day to day yada-yada in the process.

People want info and service in a friendly manor. That one tip will help keeps folks returning every trip.

Smell good, be nice...be Happy!

grin.gif


------------------
Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson

Backwater Guiding
"ED on the RED"
[email protected]
><,sUMo,>

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Hossienda I guess we think alike. We must have both been typing about the same time?

It does help, anglers do like the info boards.


------------------
Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson

Backwater Guiding
"ED on the RED"
[email protected]
><,sUMo,>

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Hiya,
When I read your post, the first thought that popped into my head was 'clean bait tanks.' It's along the lines of what Ed said in the post above - if the bait tanks stink and have fuzzy floaters, I go elsewhere. (Maybe we just have sensitive noses? grin.gif)

Clean tanks usually mean good lively bait, which is important in and of itself, but it also usually means people that care about what they're doing. If the bait's good, the info usually is too, and when I'm in a new area, I usually do ask about what's happening locally, not necessarily to get 'go here and fish with this' information, but more to get a general feel for what's happening. If I hear "been kinda slow" I'll approach things differently than if I hear "it's been pretty good the last couple days."

I'll go a long ways out of my way for good bait. I used to drive 35 miles to get redtails in the fall when all the local shops had was suckers. I'll also drop a little extra $ while I'm at it to support the shops who provide a quality service and a good product.

Cheers,
RK

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