Bait shop seeks help staying open
La PORTE — A La Porte business is struggling to keep their doors open this winter.
Being perhaps the only bait shop left in business in the city, Pine Lake Bait and Taxidermy are left scratching their heads as to why locals are venturing outside of La Porte instead of supporting their shop.
The shop is located at 2328 U.S. 35 and opened in June 2016. Since then, the little mom and pop shop has struggled to find its footing.
Taking into consideration the many lakes in and around La Porte, combined with the popularity of fishing in this area, one would assume that the city would have no shortage of bait shops.
Although the store carries niche fishing gear that is not as available at other stores in the area, it seems the bait shop’s big box competitors are getting the bulk of local fishermans’ business.
Corporate competition both in-store and online have made it difficult for smaller local shops to stay in business. Behemoths like Walmart and Amazon are dominating markets, leaving little for small businesses.
Local fishing enthusiast Edward Hueston volunteers his time looking after the shop. Hueston has invested countless hours into trying to save the bait shop. He works in the shop during regular store hours to save the shop the money they would have to pay an employee.
“It’s winter time and we’re just trying to keep the bait shop alive,” explained Hueston. The colder months tend to be the hardest on bait shops. Smaller shops get much of their business from ice fisherman during the winter months.
Because of Northwest Indiana’s unseasonably warm winter weather, the shop has not brought in its usual business from the local ice fishing crowd. The unexpected weather has put even more financial strain on the shop.
The shop is looking to take on a partner to help improve its prospects. According to Hueston, the owner is beginning to consider offers for investment and partnership. For now, the shop is in need of support from the community to get them through the winter.
Pine Lake Bait and Taxidermy is encouraging the community to come in and check out their selection of tackle and live bait including light bait, crickets, shiners, suckers and minnows.
Hueston has also started a GoFundMe page in order to try and save Pine Lake Bait and Taxidermy from closing its doors. Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/save-the-bait-shop.