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Lure of fishing boosts Pitman Creek 

AS TACKLE SHOPS and other retailers welcome anglers to the fishing frenzy of late winter and early spring, a Kentucky company is making sure they are fully stocked.

From its 205,000-square-foot warehouse in Stanford served by Inter-County Energy Cooperative, Pitman Creek Wholesale connects 300-plus vendors to more than 6,000 large-scale chains and mom-and-pop independent stores.

“The value Pitman Creek brings to our customers is consolidating many manufacturers into one shipment from one source,” explains its president and owner James Coffey.

When Coffey purchased the business from Don and Marella Stevens in 1993, Pitman Creek was a 15-year-old custom fishing lure manufacturer distributing fishing supplies mainly to the area around Lake Cumberland in south-central Kentucky. Based in Somerset, it served about 50 local sporting goods stores, bait shops and marinas.

“At that time Pitman Creek had one employee … me,” Coffey laughs. “With the business came Don’s delivery truck. I soon realized that I could sell more on the phone than I could calling on 10 to 15 customers a day driving a truck.”

Coffey’s early focus on the bass fishing market spurred steady growth. Pitman Creek Wholesale is now the nation’s leading distributor of freshwater tackle. When the pandemic triggered a boom in fishing, the company was ready.

“The fishing industry added 10 to 12 million participants in the last year,” Coffey says. “To the credit of our employees, we never got more than a few days behind shipping orders to our customers. Our employees are the strength of our company and the reason for our growth.”

Employment ranges from 150 workers to 200 during peak season. Pitman Creek processed and shipped more than 25 million pieces in 2021. 

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