Starting Out Small – The Creation of an Icon

Starting Out Small - The Creation of an Icon

This is demonstrated by an example: An iconic business. Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, transformed his small tackle shop into a large company. This is a great example of how baby steps can help you grow your business.

From 8 Feet up to an Indoor Stream

John L. Morris was a shopboy in his father’s liquor store. He became frustrated by the lack of tackle available in local shops. Morris opened his own shop selling homemade bait and tackle by dividing off an 8-foot area at the back of the store. Morris’ bait was so popular that he created a mail-order catalog service.

In 1984, Bass Pro Shop’s flagship store Outdoor World opened in Springfield, Missouri. It quickly became a popular spot in the region. It was big enough to accommodate streams, trees, and aquariums, as well as an indoor waterfall and live animals.

This is a big deal

Morris’s business now has 56 stores across the U.S. and Canada and a popular mail order catalog. The original Bass Pro Store in Springfield, Missouri, attracts more than 4,000,000 visitors annually. Bass Pro Shops ranked number 96 in Forbes’ top 100 businesses list in 2010 and climbed to number 93 last year.

Humility at its Best

Morris’ humility and commitment to his company are what have earned him fame and fortune. Morris is known for his quirky habit of making his driver slow down so he can take photos of interesting trees to inspire the interior design of his stores.

Morris also participates in the testing of the products. He said that Morris described their roles and relationships well in an interview with Bass Pro Shops President Jim Haggle. Morris said that he thought we were a good team. You can stay here and work, and I’ll test the product. Morris is still trying to build and improve his business by remembering his roots.

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Bait and Much More

Though Bass Pro Shops grew to be one of the biggest hunting/fishing/outdoor retailers in the world, it has more to offer than just gear and guns.

Outdoor World Television: Outdoor World Television is a televised experience that combines hunting, fishing, and outdoor activities. It has been awarded many industry awards.
Big Cedar Lodge: This resort is located on 850 acres near Branson, Missouri, and offers a variety of activities, including skiing, fishing, boating, and even skiing.
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is a 10,000-acre wilderness that lies deep in the Missouri Ozarks. It is available for historical tram tours, hiking and biking, horseback riding, and trout fishing.
Bass Pro Shop’s journey from an 8-foot section to a successful brand and business should be an inspiration to entrepreneurs who want to reach the top and wait to see their business grow. Start small. You may find that small steps can eventually get you there or take you farther.

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