Townsend Outdoors isn’t your everyday sporting goods store. At Townsend, not only can one find all the necessities for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation, a customer also receives a family welcome and top-notch advice. The Townsends are experienced hunters and fishermen, so they stand by the products they select for their store. Plus, they are able to provide unique, customer service individualized for each shopper’s needs. After twenty years being in business, Townsend Outdoors has become a gathering place for local hunters and fishermen, and this family-owned and operated establishment has evolved into more than just a stop and shop; it is an experience.
Scott and Dianne Townsend started Townsend Outdoors twenty years ago because they saw the need for a local store in which one could buy hunting and fishing supplies for the right price. Coming from a family full of avid hunters and fishermen, the Townsends were well-versed in the necessities for outdoor recreation and knew just what to place on the shelves and stock in their storeroom. They have continued to bring in contemporary, first-rate products over the years to meet customer demand, and the results have been well worth the effort. “We have many regular customers who come into the store,” says Dianne. “This community has been good to us, so we want to give back any way we can. Our whole family is full of hunters and fishermen, so we know first-hand what everyone needs.”
An abundance of those supplies can be found all over the store: guns, ammo, rods and reels, bait, spinners, camo clothing (men, women, and children), boots, dog collars, decoys, knives, trail cameras, deer stands, and much, much more. The Townsends are experienced trappers so they carry those supplies, as well, and can answer questions for beginners. Archery supplies are also available along with life-size targets; plus, they have a bow press in the back so adjustments can be made for customers’ bows, if needed. Townsend Outdoors also carries live bait such as crickets, worms, and minnows. Odds and ends like jewelry and even a Rambo Electric Bicycle can be found here. This store is so full of interesting and unique items, one has to see it in person to gain the full Townsend experience.
Scott and Dianne decided early on that they would provide personal, tailored customer service for each store patron. They order items their customers request if the items aren’t in the store. Also, the Townsends have always made certain to be available to answer questions about their products, provide tips on best practices, and even make time for a friendly chat, if needed. If they have an item in their store, they know how to use it, and they can give out any information requested to go along with it. With this type of specialized customer service being the standard, the Townsends saw early on repeat customers returning often, and over the years, Townsend Outdoors has become the local hangout for the hunters and fishermen of the area. One is likely to walk in the store at any given time and overhear a story about that elusive 12 point that got away or the secret fishing hole only known to a select few. The atmosphere is so welcoming with that familiar feeling of family and home, that sometimes it seems more like everyone is gathered around a fire at the deer camp trading stories and tall tales. There is even a digital photo frame on display in the store that constantly rotates pictures of their customers taken during hunting and fishing trips.
The Townsends established their store as a family business from the beginning. Over the years the business has seen all three sons, their wives, eight grandchildren, and one great-grand working or hanging out in the store. The entire family pitches in when needed, and many just like to stop in and see who’s around that day to hear the latest news from their customers, who have now become like family, too. Dianne says, “We have a lot of fun here. We always have a pot of coffee on for anyone who just wants to stop in for a visit, and people often do. The grandchildren have grown up in this store so now they’ve gotten to know everyone, too.” When discussing kinfolk though, we can’t leave out Buster, the most popular member of this family. He might get a little excited at times and decide to play with, or chew, the inventory, but Buster does his job well and greets every person who walks through the door. This beautiful Boykin Spaniel is a favorite of store visitors and leaves an impression on all.
Looking toward the future of the family business, Scott and Dianne are semi-retiring and their son, Brad, is stepping in to take on more roles with the store. Brad is a former Arkansas Game and Fish Biologist, so he comes with plenty of knowledge and the ideal background for assisting customers with their hunting and fishing needs. He is especially excited about doing business with people in the local community. “I love this community. I have grown up here and lived here my whole life so I know most of the people. It’s like one big, extended family.” Brad hopes that someday one of the children in the next generation of the family will want to get involved in the family business, too, and carry on the tradition.
Townsend Outdoors offers a one-of-a-kind experience like no other sporting goods store in Southwest Arkansas. Here someone can go to load up on supplies for the upcoming fishing trip, have a long chat with a close friend about what was biting that morning, and get the bait right then! Or maybe someone wants to stop by to check out that new deer feeder they saw last week in the window. Above all, Townsend Outdoors’ customers know they not only will get the best hunting and fishing supplies around, but they will also receive the warmest of welcomes, while certain in the knowledge that they will leave with a laugh. This store, though, is best encountered in person to gain the full Townsend Outdoors experience, and Buster will be there to give a tour.
Visit Townsend Outdoor at 2301 South Main in Hope, just across Hwy 29 from Heather Manor.