Drive-up window at Atwater Bait shop is about more than just convenience: It caters to growing number of senior anglers spread out across the area
ATWATER -- Fishing caps hide a lot of gray hair these days. Tim Damm is making it his business to keep the seniors fishing. His Atwater Bait and Tackle Shop along U.S. Highway 12 features what he believes is one of the few, if not the only, drive...
ATWATER -- Fishing caps hide a lot of gray hair these days.
Tim Damm is making it his business to keep the seniors fishing.
His Atwater Bait and Tackle Shop along U.S. Highway 12 features what he believes is one of the few, if not the only, drive-up windows in the state of Minnesota.
Just like at a fast food restaurant, cars and trucks pull up and their occupants bark out orders: "A dozen shiner minnows and leaches to go.''
"Whatever they want,'' said Damm. Wax worms, leeches, minnows and night crawlers or jigs, fishing line, or other gear, "I'll put it through the window,'' Damm said.
It's not just about convenience, Damm said.
It's about catering to the aging population of fishermen and women, he said.
Damm said a lot of the customers taking advantage of his window are silver-haired gentlemen who appreciate the opportunity to stay in their vehicles. That's especially true in the winter, because they want to minimize their risk of slipping and falling on ice, he said.
"They're looking to do the least amount of walking,'' he said.
It's not just the senior crowd taking advantage of the window, however. Customers of all ages like convenience and fast service, he noted. In this age of cell phones the combination of bait shop and drive-through window suddenly makes a lot of sense.
There are lots of fishermen and women of all ages who call from their vehicles and place an order to pick up at the window on the way to their favorite lakes, he said.
Damm opened up his bait shop on July 28. It's located on the eastern side of a car wash building owned by Corey Miller.
The idea of installing the drive-through window belongs to both Miller and Damm. Miller remodeled the building to accommodate the bait shop. He told Damm that he had salvaged windows and the drive-up window from a Burger King restaurant in Willmar that had been remodeled.
Damm said they both realized right away that a drive up window would offer an important service to senior anglers.
Now that the ice fishing season is in full swing, Damm said the window gets "lots and lots of use.'' It had daily use during the summer months too. Usage picked up as customers discovered the window. Most express surprise at first, he said.
There is one down side to the window.
Customers who use the window can miss out on discovering all that Damm offers inside his bait shop. He handcrafts his own jigs, snells and other fishing rigs, and has them stocked about the bait shop and for sale.
He can hardly keep up with the current demand for his handmade and colored ice fishing jigs that are landing lots of crappies and walleyes on nearby Diamond Lake.
And of course, he's an avid angler himself. A visit to the shop is an opportunity to learn where the fish are biting.
Damm had been a long-distance truck driver until he was injured in an accident last April. He has enjoyed a lifelong passion for fishing and hunting and especially, making his own fishing supplies. After the accident he started making his fishing lures and jigs by the hundreds and was looking for vendors to sell them.
It was Miller who suggested that he sell them himself by opening his own bait shop.
"I just thought I'd give it a whirl,'' Damm said. Business has generally been good. He is hopeful that he will someday be able to expand the bait and tackle shop and add hunting and other supplies as well.