“I worked my way up to vice president and director of east coast operations for a very big corporate entity,” he said. “But I’m a born and bred Georgia boy, and I felt the best way to follow my passion was by helping others enjoy the outdoor experience.”
The Sportsmans Outdoor Supercenter opened for business in 2012 and flourished briefly.
Things changed, however, when Academy Sports + Outdoors, a big box sporting goods store, plunked down right beside Holcomb’s store earlier in the year. For a while, it looked like it might be disastrous for the little guy.
“Everybody was asking me, ‘When are you going to go out of business?’” Holcomb said. “But it’s too early to tell if it’s affecting me. Beginning back when they tore down the Kmart building, this whole shopping complex has been hidden by construction equipment, which blocked any view of the store, so basically I have been out of business.”
“Call it old-fashioned,” he said, “but I believe that mom-and-pop, locally owned, small-town businesses is what built this country.”
Holcomb said he can compete with the bigger stores by buying shrewdly and keeping overhead down.
“I buy merchandise in all kinds of forms and fashions,” he said. “I buy direct from manufacturers, distributors and buying groups. If I can buy something at the same level as distributors while keeping my overhead low, I don’t have to mark it up as much.”
Row upon row of fishing rods, more than 1,500 spinning, baitcasting and fly rods ranging in price from $9 to $180, fill a rack along an aisle of the store.
“I carry a big selection of top-line rods and reels, including Shimano, Quantum, Penn and Abu Garcia, all at a price well below the bigger stores,” he explained. “Most of my reels are usually $20 cheaper than the bigger stores. Rods are the same way.”
Sportsman Outdoor Supercenter offers fishing, hunting and camping equipment and recently began selling guns and ammunition. Still, Holcomb said, his biggest seller is camouflage clothing. He keeps rack after rack of Realtree, Drake, Mossy Oak and Browning shirts, vests, pants and hats.
“Deer hunting, without a doubt, is the most popular outdoors activity around here,” he said. “We keep a big supply of camo, stands and rifles for hunters. Buy from the local guy and save money.”
Sportsman Outdoor Supercenter is located at 441 E. Main St. adjacent to Academy Sports + Outdoors. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Telephone: 770-382-4444.