Two Central Arkansas outdoors companies are merging to form a new company, Innovative Outdoor Management LLC.
Southern Reel Outfitters announced on Tuesday, July 28 that it will be merging with Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports of Hot Springs. The two companies have signed a definitive agreement for the merger, according to a news release.
“We are pleased to combine our strengths to meet the demand of the marketplace. Arkansans deserve the same options and competitive pricing as big-box stores, but with the added trust and expertise of a locally owned store run by a team of industry leaders. Both our locations are staffed with professional fishermen with over 100 years of combined experience. We also boast the only Master Yamaha Tech in Arkansas,” Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports owner and CEO Mandy Short said in a statement.
Located at 1530 Albert Pike Road in Hot Springs, Trader Bill’s is a sporting goods store specializing in hunting, fishing and boating. Established in 1983 by Bill Elliot, the company was purchased in 2000 by Mandy and Reji Short.
Southern Reel Outfitters is a Little Rock-based company focusing on fishing and related products. Its store, located at 14908 Cantrell Road, offers a range of fishing supplies, including casting rods, spinning rods, different reels, fishing line, bait, hooks and other accessories, as well as apparel.
Rodney Thomason started Southern Reel Outfitters in 2014 and continues to own the company.
Under the terms of the agreement, the companies’ two existing locations will maintain their current names. However, the new merged company is planning a third store that will have the Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports name. According to the release, the new store will be located in Little Rock near the I-30 and Otter Creek intersection and is slated to open in summer 2021. This new store will feature a boat dealership, in addition to expanded sports and outdoor equipment and clothing offerings.
Additional terms of the merger agreement were not disclosed.