Hitting The Mark
The Outdoorsman Sport Shop Has Been a Southside Staple For 42 Years
Writer / Jon Shoulders
Photographer / Amy Payne
To the staff at the Greenwood-based Outdoorsman Sport Shop, the difference between their establishment and many big-box, chain sporting goods stores is simple.
“The employees here walk the walk,” says General Manager James Sipes. “The staff here enjoys hunting, fishing and archery, and we live the life. I think that knowledge base gives us an advantage in dealing with customers. To us, it’s more than just a job selling the products.”
In 1976, Gary and Winnie McPherson opened Outdoorsman Sport Shop upon Gary’s retirement from the Indiana State Police. Gary retired as a Detective Sergeant in homicide after a 21-year career. Gary and Winnie’s love of people, their high character, strong work ethic and love of the outdoors manifested itself into their decision to open the shop.
Gary, with the help of friends and family, began the remodel of what had been a vacant space that previously served as a Texaco gas and tire station off State Road 135. In 1976, State Road 135 was a two-lane road amidst miles of farm fields and fence rows. Even so, Gary noticed a need for such a business and it seemed to be just the right labor of love he required, having spent much of his life as an avid hunter and fisherman. Through hard work, long hours and a deep desire to work his passion into a business, by the mid 1980s, he had expanded the physical space and grown his inventory to include archery and an expanded firearms selection.
Upon graduating from Miami University, Ohio in 1985, present owner and son, Doug McPherson, joined the team, and the expansion of an indoor archery range was added as well as an additional 3,000 square feet of retail space. Continued success and controlled growth led to yet another expansion and remodel at the end of 90s to include a larger archery range, firearms department, tackle and clothing area and an area devoted to fire-protected gun vaults.
Through the expansions, locals have continued to embrace the establishment, and The Outdoorsman Sport Shop has become a fixture in the community. As its customer base continues to expand and they refine each department to meet the needs and wants of the outdoor enthusiast, the shop continues to thrive in an ever-changing retail environment. The shop is currently approximately 15,000 square feet and full of the highest quality hunting and fishing equipment available.
Today Doug, his sisters Becky and Sherry and other wonderful full and part-time staff break down the shop’s inventory and services into five areas – hunting, fishing, firearms, archery and gun safes – with staff specialists offering their product knowledge as well as in-house service and repair expertise.
The Outdoorsman Sport Shop, with their devoted team, continues to focus on helping its valued patrons succeed in the outdoors, one customer at a time.
“Our customers appreciate the philosophy of the outdoorsman,” says Sipes, who works for the Greenwood Fire Department and became store general manager in 2016. “The community around us has grown but has really remained supportive. Our focus remains on the highest quality service we can provide because people drive a long way to come here to get their things worked on or pick up new stuff.”
“There’s a comprehensive knowledge base here with our staff that you’re probably not going to get at many other places,” says Doug, adding that Becky handles bookkeeping duties at the store with assistance from Sherry. “We’ve had great people working here through the years off and on, and our staff now is maybe the best it’s ever been here.”
Archery classes and hunting courses are also offered at the store, as well as seminars featuring nationally renowned fishing and hunting specialists.
“Many of the people working here do this stuff as a serious hobby, and I think that separates us from some of the bigger sporting goods stores – our personnel tends to use the products and we have direct knowledge of what we’re selling,” Sipes says. “I’m a hunter myself. I’ve hunted around the country and went on a hunting safari in Africa for several weeks.”
Sipes adds that rapidly evolving technology in the sporting goods domain has forced the shop’s staff to continually research products and educate themselves on the latest and greatest gear.
“The technology continues to grow and change, whether you’re talking about a fishing reel or a crossbow or any of those areas,” he says. “Because of that, we have to stay knowledgeable. We enjoy that part of it because, again, we use this stuff. We don’t just sell it.”
Since the store’s inception, Gary was determined to create a lasting business that customers could come to rely on in the long-term, and Doug says the staff today carries on that mission in a way that would make Gary proud.
“We have a big clientele that has been here since we opened – we have customers that bring their kids and even bring their grandkids in now,” Doug says. “It’s pretty common to have three and four generations come into the store, which is special to us.”
The Outdoorsman Sport Shop is located at 1010 S. State Road 135 in Greenwood. For more info call 317-881-7446 or visit outdoorsmansportshop.com.