Eagle Outdoors heads east to Willard

Steve Chapman

A sign near the intersection of Highway 160 and Highway 123 in Willard announces the future home of Eagle Outdoors. (Photo by Ryan Squibb)

This spring, Eagle Outdoors will close their doors at their current location on Highway 160 in Ash Grove and reopen in a new location in Willard. The new spot, which formerly housed Ginger’s Café and Wimpy’s Sandwich Shop, will feature more space for inventory, allowing the store to expand its offerings to customers.
Chase Blakey, who opened Eagle Outdoors in 2018 with co-owner Ed House, said an increase in demand led to the decision to move the store’s operation.
“We’ve been really, really blessed with good customers,” said Blakey. “This year, we met a lot of new folks who’ve come out to see us, so we just had to add a bunch of inventory to accommodate (them), and we (currently) don’t have the space to add all the inventory we need … to make sure we can be that one-stop (location) … and (have) everything they need at prices that are more than competitive.”
With the new location, Blakey said, customers will have more choices when shopping for hunting and fishing equipment.
“We’re actually working on a couple of different of options,” he said. “We’re looking at some box blind companies that we’re going to bring in sometime midsummer, as well as being able to add to our bass fishing selection; we’ll have a bunch more space, so we’ll be able to
 accommodate the bass fishermen better than we did before.”
Expansion of services for customers
In addition to being able to offer more products, the extra space will allow Eagle Outdoors to provide services such as bow tuning and background checks much more quickly.
“We’ll definitely have more space to work on bows a lot quicker,” Blakey said. “We’ll have an area designated for that, only, instead of having to move stuff around and what not. Archery, … aerial cutting, things like that, will be a lot smoother process, as well as we’re going to be adding another register … so we can get through the FFL paperwork a lot faster and just get people in and out as (quickly) and comfortably as possible.”
More store employees incoming
Blakey also said they plan to hire more employees.
“We just added one last week who started up there in his training process,” he said. “We’re probably going to be adding a couple more once we get moved in down here.”
Another advantage the new location provides, explained Blakey, is its proximity to the intersection of Highways 160 and 123, which gives the store more exposure to people who are en-route to locations like Stockton Lake.
“In regards to lake travel, a lot of boats turn off right … at 123 and go through Stockton and Walnut Grove,” he said. “So, it allows us to be more (available) to traffic … and customers. We’re less out of the way for them.”
One thing that will not change, said Blakey, is their commitment to excellent customer service.
“Our level of service should just get better,” he said. “The way that we take care of our customers is not going to change. We’re going to take care of them the best way we can.”
While Blakey and House have worked hard to make Eagle Outdoors a success, Blakey said he gives a lot of credit to the people who shop at the store.
“We just want to say ‘thank you’ to our current customers,” he said. “We appreciate (them). We picked this location not only for lake traffic, but it also keeps us close to what we call home in Ash Grove. We couldn’t have done this without the support of our local community and our customer base.”
Blakey said Eagle Outdoors will have soft opening in March, followed by a grand opening in


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Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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