SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The combination of COVID-19 and above-average temperatures has people picking up new outdoor hobbies. Local businesses are benefiting even as temperatures drop.
More people are venturing into the great outdoors. Many are making a pit stop at Northview Bait & Tackle in Sioux Falls.
“Selling lots of rod and reel combos specific for ice fishing, and then to go with that the bobbers, the hooks, the ice fishing jigs that kind of thing just flying out of here like crazy,” Northview Bait & Tackle owner Matt Staab said.
If fishing isn’t your thing, Great Outdoor Store has an alternative.
“Snowshoeing is really user friendly, you’re just walking, so any trail you make use of in the spring, summer, fall seasons you can snowshoe on as well,” Great Outdoor Store marketing manager Emily Larson said.
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, try cross country skiing.
“That’s really fun because you can pick up a little speed, you can really get moving more so than when you’re snowshoeing and just kind of at a walking pace,” Larson said.
As the pandemic continues, businesses like Great Outdoor Store and Northview Bait & Tackle are seeing an increase in first-time customers.
“We were ready for it because of what happened last spring. We had such an influx of new fishermen and fisherwomen that we figured the ice fishing will be the same,” Staab said.
“The summer season was the same, we saw all sorts of people getting into camping or taking big road trips for the first time. This whole year we’ve seen this maintain itself, so we weren’t terribly surprised, but it’s been really fun,” Larson said.
As good as business has been, Staab struggles to keep the shelves stocked, as shipments from neighboring states are often delayed due to the pandemic.
“What used to take 24 to 72 hours is now taking two to three weeks to get,” Staab said.
Much like fishing, it takes patience. And bait.
“We’ve got all the bait you need. Sometimes we may not have the hook you want, but we’re going to have the bait you need,” Staab said.
If you’d like to try it before you buy it, Great Outdoor Store in Sioux Falls rents both snowshoes and cross country skis.