ASBURY, Mo. —
As a kid, Floyd Reeves walked from his home on 32nd street in Joplin to Shoal Creek to fish from the low water bridge using worms and crawdads he'd dug up along the way.
Now Reeves, 60, has a little easier time finding bait: He sells it from his home-based bait and tackle shop in Asbury.
He opened Floyd's Bait and Tackle nearly four years ago for retirement income, for the flexibility to go fishing whenever he liked and to be able to interact with like-minded folks who enjoy angling for bass, crappie and walleye.
Surprisingly, in a small, tidy shop he carved out of one side of his garage, he is finding not only job satisfaction but doing good business -- better, in fact, than he had anticipated. Reeves put in 24 years at the Safeway bakery in Joplin, followed by five years at Jasper Products.
"When I retired, I had a plan: to work for myself doing what I enjoyed," he said.
Secret spot gets out
He opened his shop on April 1, 2010. Technically, he's open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. until he decides to go to bed. He takes Christmas off.
"People stop in on a regular basis. Others stop in to just see what I've got," he said.
Why his home? And why a quiet little street in Asbury?
"That's what everybody asks," he said. "I've got fishing holes a half-mile away. Farm ponds, rivers, pits. And 20, 30 miles away I've got Big Hill Lake, Ft. Scott Lake. Stockton's not far. It makes sense."
It worked. People found him.
"When I first started, I figured I had to average $35 a day to break even. The first year, I made $40 a day. The second year, I made $75. The third year, last year, I made $120," he said. "I figure it's a success, and I'm pretty sure it's because it's a small business. It's personal, one-on-one contact. They know I have information besides just bait. They get it, then they sit and visit. They ask questions, I share my knowledge, offer advice. They might end up staying two or three hours."