WILLSBORO — Kristen Hotaling loves the great outdoors and is looking forward to sharing her passion with other sporting enthusiasts.
“People are glad we are here and want us to order more stuff,” said Hotaling during the grand opening of Willsboro Outdoor World, which bills itself as Lake Champlain’s premier bait and tackle shop.
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Though the enterprise is not housed in a warehouse-sized facility, it has several advantages, among them personal service.
“We’re small enough to find out what people want and order for them,” Hotaling explained.
Another positive service to provide for customers is opening at six in the morning.
“This should be great for tournament fishermen,” she said. “Many come to this area and fish. There are also places for them to stay and eat nearby. It’s a lot easier to come here rather than Plattsburgh.”
In order to provide extra services, Hotaling has been working with the Rotary Club as well as Lake Champlain International (LCI) to assist in their tournaments as well as be an official weighing station.
According to Hotaling, the recent upward spiral of fisherman attracted to Lake Champlain and its tributaries for lake trout and Atlantic landlocked salmon demands a premier destination point for fishing and outdoor supplies.
Hotaling has fished Lake Champlain all of her life and is a second-generation entrepreneur. Her father, Jim Hotaling, has owned and operated Trolling Tina Charters on Lake Champlain for more than 20 years. In addition, he and his wife, Tina, had previously managed Champlain Angler Sports, which closed approximately a decade ago at the same location.
“I know the area and I know fishing, so this is my passion and I plan to run this business for the fishermen and outdoorsmen who have my same passion,” Hotaling said.