It is a dream come true for Scott and Sarah Keegstra, owners of Captain Chuck’s II, as they welcome customers to their nearly 7,000 square-foot new and improved store, located at 75 N. Jebavy Drive in Ludington.
Captain Chucks will open at 7 a.m. on Thursday with some promotions and specials running though the weekend, according to Scott Keegstra.
“When we bought the business five years ago, I set a five-year goal to expand our facility,” he said.
Expand they did nearly doubling the square footage and their product to provide a wider rage of fishing and hunting gear as well as doubling their live bait options.
In fishing, Captain Chuck’s added a line of inland lake fishing gear, expanding their options for anglers of the smaller lakes.
“We have expanded our rod and reel selection,” Keegstra said. “We have increased out capacity for live bait. Instead of one live bait tank we will have two to offer fishermen.”
At the old store, Captain Chuck’s II focused more on salmon fishing and the big lake.
“Chuck’s started out as a salmon store,” he said. “Obviously being in Ludington, one of the best ports to fish out of for salmon that was their target. We still have a ton of stuff for salmon. We are adding to that line, but we also want to make sure we have stuff for the guys who fish bluegill and bass.”
Keegstra said although the majority of the new store is geared toward fishing, it does not leave out the hunters.
In archery, Captain Chucks has added a 15-yard archery range in which customers can shoot.
The store also offers a wide range of archery supplies for the bow hunters whether crossbow or vertical bow.
“We have a lot of young people who are getting into bow hunting,” he said. “A lot of the local schools are offering an archery course. We help them out by getting the arrows and tuning bows. Which helps generate interest in the outdoor activity.”
Keegstra said there is some misconception that because you bow hunt you have to harvest something, and that is not the case. He said the business pushes its customers to enjoy the outdoors.
“Some of the most relaxing times I have had is sitting in a tree on a nice fall day listing to the birds and seeing some deer.”
Because of the governor’s executive order in April, construction was halted which pushed back the grand opening by about two months.
“I understand where the governor was coming from, but as a small business in northern Michigan every day counts,” he said. “We were hoping for a Memorial Day grand opening so we could keep all the fishermen supplied through Labor Day, which is our season.
“It was an order we had to abide by, so we adjusted and our contractor did his best to keep things rolling and be productive and here we are in July midway through the season. We are still excited about the grand opening.”
“When I first purchased Chuck’s, it was a dream to expand,” Keegstra said. “That dream turned into planning (three years), (acquiring) the land. To my wife, Sarah, (it was) designing a store that would fit the property we bought, to putting it out to bid. Each step was exciting but also a huge learning curve, but in the end, it has been dream come true.”
Keegstra said even through he does not fish as much as he used to, he loves the business and he loves his customers, which allows him to live through their outdoor adventures and stories.