Niles bait and tackle shop sold

Published 9:25 am Friday, July 3, 2015

Trailhead Mercantile has a new name and new owners.

Richard and Mary Smith, of Niles, purchased the downtown Niles business from former owner Bryan Williams two weeks ago.

The new owners opened up shop at 209 E. Main St. Tuesday under the new name: Rusty Hooks Bait and Tackle.

Richard was a diesel mechanic and Mary worked as a home keeper and babysitter.

“We wanted to start a new adventure together,” said Richard about buying the business.

Williams, who opened the store five years ago, said he did not have the time or the energy to devote to two businesses. He opened the Brass Eye cocktail lounge in downtown Niles earlier this year.

“Neither place was getting 100 percent of our attention,” he said. “The bar was doing well enough and I didn’t need both incomes.”

Williams said he is happy how everything turned out.

“It is a great new chapter. I am happy I didn’t have to shutter the place because I hate seeing closed storefronts,” he said. “The thought of that bothered me more than the thought of closing my business.

“It was kind of cool too that I built and made something that somebody else wanted.”

Richard said he was a longtime customer of Trailhead Mercantile. When he learned Williams was no longer interested in running it, he asked about buying it.

“It seemed like a good idea and I was getting tired of turning wrenches,” Richard said.

Although the store will remain devoted to hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation products, Richard said there will be some changes.

He plans to sell live bait from live wells regulated to the correct temperature, new rods, reels, wading gear and more.

There are plans to put a crossbow range in the basement at the beginning of next year.

New inventory will continue to arrive in the coming weeks and months.

Rusty Hooks is open from 5:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Call the store at (269) 683-3474.