In the mid-1950s when Lonnie Dooley started a modest tackle stand selling nightcrawlers and minnows out of a simple cement vat, he never dreamed his business would go as far as it has.
Over four decades later, Dooleys Sport
Its been a family affair since daddy started it, says Charles Dooley, current owner of the shop. Me and five siblings came up through the shop and when daddy passed away in 1971, I took over.
Located just off U.S. 378, Dooleys offers a staggering amount of tackle, food, live bait and practically anything else an angler might need for a day on the lake. Beyond the basics, the shop has truck rentals, fishing and hunting licenses and kitchenette that specializes in hot dogs, barbecue and quick-service sandwiches.
For the die-hard fisherman, Dooleys opens 30 minutes before sun-up on the weekends.
If youre running a business like this, youve got to be there for the people, Charles Dooley says. We take turns with the early morning shifts so its not so bad. But youve got to be open for those people who start early.
Many agree that the familys eagerness to assist fishermen in a genetic call to arms. While Charles Dooley and his brothers and sisters learned the trade for their father, they since have passed the baton to their own children.
Charles kids David, Patrice and Monte have all worked in the store. Monte Dooley still works there full-time and says its by no means forced child labor.
We know practically everyone who comes in here but its always nice to meet the different people and the folks who just drop by, Monte Dooley says. We just enjoy cutting up with everybody.
Whether youre a friend or a stranger
in town, the staff at Dooleys Sport Shop has the reputation
Dooleys also offers private and corporate charter fishing trips with local guides.
Besides the professional guides, the food, and the homey atmosphere and the bounty of available fishing gear, the Dooley family and its eagerness to serve the public is what makes this tackle shop unique.
Our granddaughter Brianne is already anxious to help out, says bookkeeper Barbara Dooley, who is Charles wife.
Other evidence of the familys
One of the bass was caught by Brianne. We mounted it for her and were going to put it up in the house but she wouldnt have it, Barbara Dooley says. She wanted it mounted in the shop.
Dooleys is the informal headquarters for the Carolina Classic Bass Masters, and as a result, the family anticipates another busy summer. The Dooley family wouldnt want it any other way.
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