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More Than Just Fishing With Bass Pro Shops

June 11, 2012

Bass Pro Shops had its beginning when founder John L. Morris was not satisfied with the available fishing tackle in local stores. He did something quite unique, renting a U-Haul trailer he travelled the U.S. loading it with the newest premium fishing tackle he could find.  He then returned with what he had to his home in Springfield, Missouri and opened a fishing store measuring eight square feet of space in his father’s liquor establishment in 1972.

The store became a hit with local and out-of-state fishermen who would drop by on the way to fishing at the popular Ozark’s bass lakes.  While the act seems simple what Morris actually did was collect the best possible fishing tackle available in the country and offer them in one location.  This gave fishermen a wide range of fishing tackle choices in a single location.

What was also going in favor of the store was its location to popular fishing destinations. Then distant customers started calling wanting choice fishing tackles sent over to them. Morris was able to size up the situation properly and started a mail catalog business (the Bass Pro Shops catalog).  It became the largest mail order sporting goods store in the world.  The company also offers online shopping through basspro.com

Bass Pro Shops did not simply stick to one product line. In 1975 the company established a separate wholesaling entity called American Rod and Gun to meet growing demand for its brand products.  This company now services more than 7,000 independent retail stores worldwide.

In 1978 Bass Pro Shops offered the Bass Tracker boat “package” which was a professionally rigged boat, motor and trailer offering. This led to having a boat showroom in all Bass Pro Shops stores.

Bass Pro Shops has going beyond fishing offering equipment and products for hunting, camping, nature gifts, outdoor cooking and other activities including a resort. The company was able to service the needs of a particular niche, those customers engaged in some form of outdoor activities. It successfully established its own brand and culture that the public has grown to recognize. This includes having TV and radio programs.

The company states it serves over 75 million customers annually and has over 16,000 employees.  It all began when a then young man rented a U-Haul trailer.

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