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Dealer Spotlight: Susquehanna Fishing Tackle

Family-owned business in Columbia, Pennsylvania puts anglers first for over 34 years

Susquehanna Fishing Tackle is owned and operated by the Acord family. George Sr., George Jr., and Mike Acord hatched the idea in the late 80’s and brought the shop to reality on May 1, 1989. Featuring one of the largest inventories of fishing tackle in the Mid-Atlantic region, SFT says its mission is to provide anglers with quality products and services that help them catch more fish, all at excellent prices.

All avid and accomplished anglers, their own experiences allow Mike, George Jr., and George Sr. to assist SFT customers in any fishing endeavor they want to undertake. Their list of fishing accolades is long. George Jr. is a two-time Bassmaster Classic angler, and Mike is a former tournament angler, Bassmaster Elite Series co-angler, and a full-time guide on the renowned Susquehanna River. George Sr. has a storied tournament career as well, and always found time to take his boys fishing, which ignited both his sons’ passions for the sport.

Six Questions with SFT’s Mike Acord

Q1 – What are some of the key things you do to make Susquehanna Fishing Tackle a destination for anglers?

The biggest thing is making it our priority to keep a wide and specialized inventory… things anglers can’t find anyplace else. Especially on the bass side, we stock almost any rod an angler could want… from highly specialized swimbait rods to equally unique and hard-to-find BFS models from a wide variety of manufacturers. Inventory is definitely key. The second and equally important thing we provide is service and expertise. We are all fishermen here and freely share our knowledge to help our customers catch more fish. Our store’s staff draws on its knowledge and experience in every customer interaction to first learn and understand what they want to experience or accomplish; to help get the specific equipment into their hands that will help them meet those goals; and to ultimately help them understand why and how that specific gear is going to help them earn success. I think these two things are the biggest reasons why we draw so many first-time and repeat customers. Our parking lot proves we are a multi-state destination for anglers. 

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Q2 – How important is your online business?

Our online business is kind of a necessary evil. It’s a tough part of the business but a critical part that allows us to reach and earn customers we wouldn’t otherwise. We know we need to have a great online presence and an equally great online experience for our Ecommerce customers. It’s been critical for our growth and becomes more important each year. We’re currently getting ready to launch a brand-new website in the next couple months. This move comes with a substantial investment, which will be justified by an improved online journey and service for our customers, as well as increased sales.

Q3 – What are the topics or products most anglers have been asking about in recent months when they visit your store?

Everything seems to revolve around ICAST in July. After the world’s largest tackle trade show each year, we’re bombarded with questions about when different products our customers have heard about will become available. They also want to know what we think about them. This past year, the Rapala CrushCity soft baits, Rapala Mavrik jerk baits, St. Croix Mojo Bass TRIGON rods, and SEVIIN GF casting reels have been among the hottest topics of discussion. You wouldn’t believe the number of anglers who came into the store just wanting to pick up a Mojo Bass TRIGON rod so they could feel it in their hand. That’s something they could never do online.

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Q4 – What kinds of other things does SFT do in service to anglers?

In-store events have always been a priority of ours, and we carefully plan and host a variety of them each year. Moving into our new building in 2014 really gave us the space we needed to take these events to the next level. Bass Fest is our largest event each year. We hold it in January… after hunting season. It’s really a mini consumer show. We have manufacturer’s reps come in and we get some incredible, well-known, and talented pros to speak. We try to keep the focus on teaching and learning. This year’s Bass Fest will be the weekend of January 12 and 13. I can tell you that we already have Gussy (Canadian Bassmaster Elite angler and reigning Bassmaster Classic champion, Jeff Gustafson) coming in, as well as fellow Elite-Series angler, Greg DiPalma. We also host a podcast for anglers every Thursday night called Tackle Shop Live. If anyone wants to tune in this Thursday (December 7), we’ll be making an announcement about another incredibly high-profile individual that will be joining us at next month’s Bass Fest!

Q5 – You only have so much room on your sales floor. Why do you stock St. Croix rods and SEVIIN reels?
We go back 34 years with St. Croix. Anglers started asking for them and we really didn’t know anything about them at that time, so we started researching and liked what we found. Like our store, St. Croix was and remains a family-owned business. The Schluter family has owned the company for over 45 years. That’s extremely rare among large tackle manufacturers – especially those offering such high-quality products – and even more rare in the specific case of fishing rods. We liked that 30 years ago and we continue to appreciate it today, just as many of our customers do. We also learned that St. Croix rods were American made. They all were at that time, and while everything from Premier and Victory up are still made at their Park Falls, Wisconsin factory, the company also built, owns, and operates St. Croix South in Fresnillo, Mexico where it uses the same high-quality materials, equipment, technologies, and processes to handcraft high-performance rods which they can offer to anglers at a lower price. Ultimately, we carry 15 racks of St. Croix rods on our floor because every St. Croix series is a high-quality and well-executed product that anglers want. Victory has been our best-selling St. Croix series because the price and quality are perfect… its fishability, balance, and actions are perfect… and it’s made in the USA with a fifteen-year warranty. Choosing to bring in SEVIIN reels was not an easy decision given the crowded state of the market, the economy, and current inventory positions. Ultimately though, we know anglers always want what’s new, and after fishing the SEVIIN GF reels ourselves, they earned their space in our store. These are easy-casting well-built reels at a really sweet price that appeals to a wide variety of anglers.

Q6 – Anything else you’d like anglers to know about Susquehanna Fishing Tackle?

I guess I’d just hope to reinforce to anyone that there are no dumb questions here. Please don’t be afraid to ask… whether you are in our shop or someone else’s independent tackle store. We exist and we are here every day to help you catch more fish and have more success, grow, have more fun, and make more good memories on the water. As an independent dealer this is how we differentiate ourselves. We fish every day and know the ins and outs of everything we sell. Even if we share our expertise and it doesn’t result in an immediate sale or even a new customer, we know our efforts help retain new anglers, which is the best possible thing for our industry.

Keep up with Susquehanna Fishing Tackle on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube. Learn more at sfttackle.com.

About St. Croix Rod

Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the “Best Rods on Earth” for 75 years.  Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing.  The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls and Fresnillo, Mexico.  With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Avid®, Premier®, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world.

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