Bait shop to lure customers with new look
For Fall Leaf residents Larry and Nancy Hood, the grand reopening of their business is a fish story come true.
Each time the couple opens The Corner Bait Shop, the inventory seems to get a little bigger.
The shop is located on the corner of Kansas Highway 32 and Leavenworth County Road 1. The Hoods celebrated the reopening Thursday.
"It's pretty much a new beginning for the store," Nancy said.
The couple bought the store in May after Nancy wanted a change from her previous career as a certified nurse assistant.
"My husband always wanted a bait shop," she said.
The couple kept the store open over the summer, but the real changes started when the couple closed the doors for the winter in November.
That's when the Hoods decided to make the shop their own by remodeling and expanding their inventory.
"It was pretty much a change of pace for me," Nancy said.
Since buying the shop, Nancy has seen her passion for fishing expand.
"I'm just amazed about how many people fish," she said.
The couple described the new shop as a "Catfisherman's Heaven."
Inside, ranks of fishing poles hang from the ceiling. The counters are chock full of lines, baskets of colorful lures and bobbers and snacks for fishing enthusiasts who get hungry at the line.
"I have every kind of sinker that's in a book -- every size, every shape," Nancy said.
In addition to the basic wares, the shop offers an array of items specifically for catfish fishing, Nancy said.
She said she spent a lot of time talking to people who focus on catfish to help establish her inventory.
"They want a lot of different things, so we try to carry that," Nancy said.
She carries almost everything, anyway, she said.
One fisherman came to her asking for leeches, but because the leeches meant keeping a supply of blood on hand, she said she decided to pass.
A variety of live baits are stocked, however.
The inventory includes ruby reds, goldfish, night crawlers, shiners and several frozen baits, she said.
The Hoods will also keep a vending machine open for Sunday fishing.
"There's a lot of people who like to fish on Sundays," Nancy said.
In addition, the store will have hunting and fishing licenses athroughout the season, Nancy said.
Despite the new items and the new look, the Hoods will still organize fishing tournaments. Last year, the Hoods organized separate crappie and catfish contests in the summer.
Her favorite part of the job has little to do with fishing reels or worms, she said.
"The most enjoyable thing is talking to people," she said.
During the summer, the store will keep an updated map to help show people the season's strongest fishing spots, Nancy said.
"You hear a lot of good fish stories," Nancy said. "When they bring their fish in, I believe them because I can see them."
The shop is open from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.