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Giving building new life
By Elizabeth Tanner/Post Dispatch—
Although Randy Britton never dreamed of opening his own business, he has poured his heart into transforming 214 W. 15th St. into The Bait Shop, a 24/7 live bait store.
“I never imagined I would have opened this business,” long-time fisherman Britton said. “But I am thankful for the opportunity. It’s been fun. Fishing is something I love and know.”
The building, which once belonged to Carlos Martinez, who was Britton’s wife’s late father, served as a barbershop. However, after the passing of both of her parents, Britton stepped in, recruiting his family to transform the building and give it new life.
“Keeping the building in the family felt like the right thing to do,” Britton said. “It’s hard to lose a parent, especially both so close together, but I know if Raquel’s parents were here, they would be proud. As a family, we have all been helping and working together. I am so proud of my children who have all helped in getting this business started.”
Keeping the memory of Raquel Britton’s father, Britton even repurposed several of Martinez’s belongings into the furnishings used in bait shop.
“I wanted to keep a part of my wife’s dad in the shop that she would remember,” Britton said. “Therefore, I incorporated her dad’s counter and cabinets to make my counter that you see as you enter the shop.”
As for Britton’s inspiration to construct a bait shop, it drawn from the fond memories he created while fishing.
“Fishing has always been a part of our lives,” Britton said of he and his wife. “We loved to fish before we had kids and even as children ourselves fished. Additionally, all my children love to fish. It’s a good time to spend with family. My sons and I take fishing tripes and use the time to do something we all love and spend time together. Fishing is something we will always share and have in common.”
Having been open for a few weeks now, Britton says the outpour of support from the community has been overwhelming.
“I have already had grandparents in with their grandchildren,” Britton said. “I have had young teenagers as regulars and people that fish at the park, ponds and lakes – it’s good to see people out fishing.”
In fact, Britton encourages everyone to pick up a pole and give fishing a try.
“Life needs to slow down sometimes,” Britton said, “and that’s what fishing is – it’s a time where life just slows down. With everything going on, it’s good to sit back and enjoy the simple things. If you haven’t ever fished, it’s never too late to try.”
If someone isn’t at the shop, Britton says to give them a ring at 806-777-5296 or 806-777-5584 and they will be glad to open the door.
“We live right down the street,” Britton said. “Someone will come out anytime to meet you. I fish at various times and know that with work, kids and life, everyone’s fishing time varies. Please call or text us. We want to be available 24/7, and we want to get those calls to come out and open it up for you.”
While The Bait Shop offers a number of fishing items such as live bait, minnows, worms, shrimp, liver, catfish bait, tackle, fishing rods, reels and more, Britton encourages customers to let him know what other fishing necessities to stock.
“I know about fishing and so I try to keep what I know, use and need,” Britton said. “However, if there is something you use and I don’t have it, let me know and I will work to get it in the shop.”
As for The Bait Shop’s future, Britton just hopes to see the community continue to take advantage of easily accessible bait and the joys that fishing brings.
“We are eager to see the community getting excited to fish,” Britton said. “It’s always good to see people fishing and enjoying the outdoors.”