Uncle Boonie’s Bait Shop in Homer Illinois has served the local fishing community for 27 years. The bait shop is more than a store, it is representation of Boonie’s dedication to his local community and the fishing community of a large surrounding area.
|Uncle Boonie in front of his bait shop. Bonnie’s motto is simple “Uncle Boonie’s Got Worms”.|
I asked Boonie if he opened the shop to make a million dollars. He caught my humor and anwered. “Yes, it’s a get rich scheme.” Later he commented “I trade money every year but don’t make anything.” Besides selling bait and tackle, Uncle Boonie also stocks “satellite shops”, non-bait shops as far as 30 miles away, which carry his bait as a service to their customers. Wonder how much he loses in gas money.
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Boonie vends bait automatically 24 hours per day. For those needing tackle, Boonies shop has an excellent variety for local, humble fishing needs. Boonie does not try to cater to expensive trophy types. (Appreciated by us “catch whatever, enjoy the day and make a meal out of whatever we caught” types.) Besides the regular bait customers, Boonie describes his clientele as a family in a pickup truck with fenders flapping, no air-conditioning, 4 kids and a dog … 2 more kids than poles. They need a couple of rods and reels, hooks, sinkers and bobbers. His tackle selection serves us very well. He stocks rods and reels for the variety of fish we have locally, bluegill, crappie, bass, catfish and trout.
AUTHORS NOTE: Uncle Boonie will go out of his way to set up poor people at ridiculously low prices … like $11.50 for everything they need. We know he is the type of person who would lose money if he makes people happy. Please, if your fenders aren’t falling off, don’t take advantage of his generosity.
Rather than purchasing his tackle using modern methods, Boonie takes a trip to Florida and finds wholesale houses. The savings in freight pays his gas but more importantly, Boonie sees the merchandise he picks. He picks good quality tackle in the low to moderate price range. His prices are competitive with the big-box stores, but you know his selection is hand picked. I asked him if he spots poor quality tackle and was surprised by his answer. He said he finds many expensive reels that aren’t worth a cr**. Some companies that portray high value image charge a lot for junk.
Uncle Boonie is proud of his life of community service. He has a wall a pictures, plaques and awards. He has lived a life serving organizations like Scouts and the American Legion. In Homer, he has been the Master of Ceremonies at many events. His colorful personality and obvious dedication to people makes a weekend visit to Boonie’s Bait Shop special.
|Boonie’s wall of pictures, plaques and awards.|
Boonie’s reputation spreads well outside of the local Homer, Illinois community … not so much a reputation but instead a feeling toward a person. Those who only meet him occasionally feel like he is their friend. His great character combines with his compassion for people … giving you a lasting warm feeling.