Leo’s Bait Shop opens in downtown Cassopolis

Published 2:24 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024

CASSOPOLIS — A new business has set up shop in downtown Cassopolis to meet the needs of local fishing enthusiasts.

Cassopolis residents Duane and Donna Curtis opened Leo’s Bait Shop last week. Located at 150 S. Broadway St., behind Village Florida in Cassopolis, the shop is open from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days per week and offers a variety of live bait, tackle, fishing equipment and free coffee. 

The Curtises purchased the Village Floral building from longtime owner Becky Maier in 2022, with Donna taking over the floral business following a career in education at Lake Michigan College. The shop offers selections of flowers, succulents, balloons and an assortment of other gifts.

“I was on my way to work and I saw that it came up for sale,” Duane said. “I was just joking with her and said ‘hey the flower shop’s for sale, we should buy it.’”

“I worked in education at LMC during COVID and I think I was ready for a break,” Donna added. “When he came home, I didn’t think he was serious. We said we would do it and that we would take it as far as we could and it all just fell into place.”

After settling in with the flower shop, the couple began work on Leo’s Bait Shop, which was named such in honor of Duane’s late father, Leo. The duo shared a passion for fishing that Duane hopes to share with customers.

“It was our dream to have a bait shop,” Duane said.

The Curtises said that the response from the community has been positive, with locals happy to have a shop close by and not out-of-town.

“Before you would have to go to Edwardsburg, Niles or Union,” Duane said. “This is more local. The guys in Vandalia and Jones don’t have to drive as far now… We’ve had a lot of support from the community and other businesses.”

With the bait shop now operational, the Curtises hope their businesses will become a destination location for community members.

“One of her brides actually came in today to buy some worms,” Duane said.

“Between the flowers and the fish, it gives people something to do in this area,” Donna added. “That’s what we’re all about, bringing families together.”

With the bait shop officially open, Duane and Donna are looking forward to their new adventure.

“I’m excited beyond words,” Duane said. “This is a dream come true, for sure. I couldn’t have done it without my wife.”