William Preite says its been a dream of his to open a sporting goods store to cater to local hunters and fishermen. He also sells hunting rifles and antique firearms.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — William Preite is fulfilling a lifelong dream: to own a sporting goods store.
Bill's Sporting Goods opened earlier this year at 401 Curran Highway, the location of the former Doran Carpet building. It's across the street from Ernie's Auto Body and just down the street from Joe Wolfe Field.
Preite has always wanted to open a fishing-and-hunting store. He opened in late February after renovating the inside of the building. The interior has light wood walls, most of which are adorned with the taxidermied heads of animals Preite has hunted over the years. These include a few large deer, many small deer, and a wild boar, along with a few large fish.
When customers open the door, they can expect to be greeted enthusiastically by Preite's friendly yellow Labrador, Ali. Ali has free roam of the store, but she's a lovable dog who likes her belly rubbed.
Preite sells many different products in his store, including fishing lures, rods, and reels, ammunition for most types of firearms, hand-carved knives, and binoculars and weapon scopes. But he is perhaps most proud his collection of antique guns and his display of hand-tied fly fishing lures.
The lures are handmade and look very similar to actual flies and other bugs in order to help fly-fishers catch fish. Though they look intricate and expensive, each costs under $4. Preite said his is the only store in the area that he is aware of that sells hand-tied flies.
Preite recounted a story of a man who sold him a fly fishing rod recently who came into the store and said he was "glad to see [that] somebody opened a real store."
An avid gun collector, he also sells rifles, handguns, and shotguns. He buys them at auctions, mostly in Illinois, and from people who come into the store specifically to sell him their weapons. He is a careful buyer, saying, "I try to sell guns in good shape."
Preite's collection of weapons is impressive, spanning both size and age. One of the oldest guns is a Colt revolver from the early 1900s. In addition, he has a Luger pistol made in 1938 in Germany and a Mannlicher rifle made in Austria. But he also has a new Walther handgun (this is the type featured in the James Bond movies and novels) and a lightweight .22 caliber target shooting rifle. Preite is currently running a raffle for $20 per ticket for the chance to win this rifle.
While many of the guns and fishing rods are high-quality and expensive, Preite noted that some of the fishing rods he sells cost around $30. This, he said, is perfect for people who want to get their kids into fishing. He also sells some hunting apparel, including camouflage jackets and boots. Right now, Preite is offering $5 off every purchase of $50 or more.
Bill's Sporting Goods is open Thursday through Saturday for the summer because Priete spends the rest of the week spraying some 92 houses for insects as part of his Berkshire Pest Control business. His store is open from 4-7 on Thursday and Friday and from 11-4 on Saturday. He will be open more often in the fall, once the hunting season is underway and the pest-control season wanes.
When asked which part of the business was his favorite, Preite said, he didn't have a favorite. "I'm just happy when people come in."
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