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Shop aims to ‘tackle’ new ground

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Cliff Bob loves fishing so much, he opened a tackle shop.

“I love fishing tournaments, I love to browse in tackle shops,” he said, admitting he shops the way many would browse in clothing stores.

“I drop $50-100 when I just go in to look,” he laughed.

C. Bob’s Pro Fishing Shop opened its doors last month with an open house at its location in the new mall at Onigaming First Nation, about five km north of Nestor Falls.

“Why not start now and train some people before tourist season starts?” he reasoned on why he opened during a traditionally slow retail time of the year.

“It’s a good time for a training period, and they can get to know the products and any problem areas,” he remarked.

Bob plans to employ four people in the spring and summer months to take advantage of the “bumper-to-bumper traffic,” but will stay open all-year round.

Although his store has faced some growing pains, including a delayed opening and products that haven’t arrived yet, Bob said everything’s on track.

“I was going to be starting last May but the building wasn’t ready,” he noted, but adding he’s now ready to tackle the major tourist influx that comes in the first six-eight weeks of spring.

The store sells minnows, tackle, gifts and souvenirs, and local native crafts. And even though it’s only been open for two weeks, Bob already has more plans in mind.

“I’m always looking to see how to increase business. I’ve got a few aces up my sleeve,” he laughed.

Bob plans to rent kayaks and canoes. As well, he’s going to install birchbark trees in the souvenir and craft section to hang the crafts, and he’ll use the back room for fish processing.

“When you’re done fishing for the day, we’ll fillet and freeze the fish for you until you’re ready to go,” he explained.

Onigaming Chief Patrick Copenace and the band council invested money for the store, and local labour built the new mall.

The band wanted to see it open year-round. Although it won’t be as busy in the winter, local residents do fish all year.

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