ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Do you have someone in your life who loves to hunt, fish, or do other things outdoors, and you want to buy them something for Christmas? Then, you might want to think about shopping locally.
You have plenty of big-box options, and they can be solid, but they may not have the gear your friend or family member really wants.
Locally-owned hunting, fishing, and outdoors stores tend to have a pretty good idea of what works in their particular region.
“So, pretty much if you come in here asking questions, you’re going to get answers,” said Honey Hole Bait & Tackle owner Leonard Trout. “If I don’t know the answers, I’m going to find somebody that does. So, I’m going to make sure you get your answers.”
Trout’s shop in Blue Ridge is one of the dozens in the Roanoke and Lynchburg regions that are locally owned. He says another benefit of shopping locally is the relationship local stores have with gear and tackle makers in the area.
“You can get things in a local shop that are made here by people that know what works here,” Trout added. “I have things in my store that you can’t get anywhere else, not online, not in the big chains, only here.”
Shopping local can also extend to hunting, fishing, or other outdoor gear. We have a lot of gear makers in the region, and they make things ranging from turkey calls to fishing lures.
“I’ve had several jobs in my life, but this is really the first one that I’ve had that I don’t feel like it’s work,” said Dennis Perko of Perko Lures. “Every day I get up and I do what I love.”
Perko is also a fishing guide on the upper James River. He brings that knowledge to his lure-making business. Perko crafts lures for muskies, one of the fish he targets on the James.
Another benefit of shopping locally is that your money stays in the area and directly benefits jobs and businesses in the region.
So, how do you find local sellers and producers?
The internet is your friend.
Just do a basic search for whatever you’re interested in — hunting, fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, whatever outdoor activity you’re looking for — and you will find plenty of local results.
Even if you do not know exactly what to get, the local shops can help you figure it out. If you can’t make up your mind, most offer gift cards, and that will help to take the guesswork out of it and lead to a lot of happiness on Christmas morning.