MADISON - One man's dedication to outdoorsmen in Boone County led to the opening of Jc Sport Sales in Madison.
Joey Gillispie makes his living managing Mike's Tire Shop, but he has leased an unused space from the shop and opened his own business. Nestled in what was once a bay that was used to repair automobiles, Gillispie ran new electrical to the space and converted it into a retail space where he caters to anglers in the area.
"When Magic Mart closed, it was really tough on people who like to fish in Boone County," he said. "People either had to drive to Logan or to Charleston, and I wanted to open a place that would cater to those folks. I'm not looking to get rich here; my prices compare to Wal-Mart or any of those big chain stores and I'm right down the road from you. In some cases, I'm a little cheaper, and I want to keep it that way."
Gillispie, an employee of Mike's Tire Shop for 11 years, said that he felt that his idea was something that the community needed. Ethan Malcom helps out in the shop during the daytime hours while the boss is in a neighboring bay putting brakes on a car or performing a state inspection.
"I'm here from 8 (a.m.) to 8 (p.m.)," Gillispie said. "I have to multitask my days, for sure."
Among the offerings in the shop, Gillisipie carries soft and hard lures, reels, poles, spinners, live bait (minnows, leaches, nightcrawlers, meal worms, crawfish, lizards and more). He receives some live bait from within West Virginia, but some come from Virginia and Maryland. He personally drives to Maryland to transport select items back to Madison.
"I've got the big, recognizable brands and I have some of the more inexpensive brands, too," he said. "I really wanted to give people a decent selection in a small shop."
Gillispie looks to expand into hunting gear before the fall, but he realizes that he had to take the initial step and start out small and build his business.
"At first, I was looking at larger spaces and including the hunting stuff right out of the gate," he said. "I'm glad that we did it this way, because it gives me a chance to grow and gauge what people want. I talk to people and ask them what they need or would like to see me keep in stock."
The business owner said that he was surprised at how quickly he was able to do business locally without much advertising outside of social media. The walls are lined with product and the space has been adequately used to display the offerings of the business.
"Getting the word out there at first was tough but right now, I'm actually doing pretty well with it and we've only been open a few weeks," he said. "Barker's Hardware donated the peg board to me and I just went from there. It was a lot of work but I'm real happy with how it turned out."
Gillispie has developed a relationship with various distributors and companies that allow him to also process special orders and he receives orders several times per week.
"If I do a special order for you on Saturday, I can have it by Wednesday," he added.
Gillispie built shelving and tables sturdy and strong enough to support live bait tanks filled with water.
"Friday and Saturdays have been pretty busy because people like to stop in on their way to go fishing," he said. "We like to accommodate everyone's schedule, so we keep those long hours, six days per week."
Jc Sport Sales is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The shop is located at 404 State St. in Madison. Call 304-419-8656 for more information.