By Drew Bergman
This past Saturday JSP Outdoors hosted the grand opening of their new shop at 7393 Campbellsville Road, just past Cane Valley Road.
By noon of that opening owner Jeff Pennington was already restocking some of their live bait supplies. “That’s not a bad problem to have,” he said from the road.
JSP Outdoors specializes in fishing tackle with fishing-show grade and unique lures made from their own molds. “We were distributing our product nationally before we ever got into the retail side of it.”
Much of the stock they carry comes from connections they have made on the fishing show circuit. “A lot of these lures are from our personal friends in the muskie shows that you can’t get in regular stores,” said Shawna Pennington who co-owns the store with her husband Jeff.
She talked about how they were active in the lure business before they approached the retail side of things, “We’ve done shows in Knoxville, Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Morehead. We’ve been active for a while now with the custom lures that my husband Jeff makes.”
The Knoxville show they participated in was the East Tennessee Fishing Show & Expo which touts itself as the largest such expo in the southeast.
Around the time of that show, in January, the Penningtons began their search for a location to establish their business, something well-situated to service fishers in southcentral Kentucky. Bryan Harris was the one who suggested the location, which sits at an ideal spot for fishers.
“We’re about 35-40 minutes from Lake Cumberland, about five minutes from Green River Lake and then Holmes Bend is about ten minutes from here and Dale Hollow is about 30 minutes,” Shawna said. “It’s a good location.”
JSP had been set to open shop back in March before the governor ordered the closure of non-essential businesses to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Despite the obstacle, the Penningtons dug in and pressed on.
“At that point we decided to press forward it would have cost us more money to back out than it would have to continue,” Jeff said. “We already had product ordered to stock the store.”
The shutdown affected not only their ability to open the store, but also their supply chain. “Where we make our own lures, we have our own injection mold and luckily we have a lot of that in stock,” Shawna said, “but with a lot of our wood baits they were put on back order because they couldn’t ship. And so, we’ve had a long process with that. We had about 100 baits on backorder because we’re needing the wood. It came down to crunch time and so I had my husband buy his own wood lathe, so now we do our own woods.”
Currently Jeff fashions his lures at home, but within the next month that his equipment will be moved out to the Campbellsville Road location.
Soon JSP will be expanding their offerings inside the store. Off to the side of the sales floor is a utility room that will soon be converted for additional hunting gear, but also for education. Bryan Harris, who helps the Penningtons with the operation of the store and also serves as a guide, talked about their plans for the space. “We are going to use this room for teaching and we’re going to do different seminars on different days [covering topics such as] muskie fishing, bass fishing, turkey hunting.” Harris, along with his father, Mike, and Jeff Pennington will also be leading guide trips for those interested.
“They guide for pretty much any species,” Shawna said. “Jeff mainly does muskie, Bryan does muskie and crappie; Mike does muskie, crappie, and bass.”
The two large muskie which hang in the store were both pulled by Mike Harris from Green River Lake and serve as an inspiring challenge for aspiring muskie fishers.
Guide trips can be arranged by calling JSP at (270) 380-1020 or (606) 264-0027 or by making use of the contact page at their website, JSPOutdoors.com.
Going along with the seminar room will be an expansion of JSP’s hunting offerings. Currently they stock deer minerals, but soon they will be adding attractants, as well as other hunting gear such as blinds and calls in order to better serve the outdoor sports needs of the area.
“JSP’s veteran owned and Christian oriented we try to treat people the right way,” Bryan Harris said. “If we don’t have it, we can get it.”