Starting Out Small – The Creation of an Icon

One iconic business provides an excellent example of this. Transforming his business from a tiny tackle shop to a major company, Johnny Morris (the creator of Bass Pro Shops) proves that baby steps can be key to growing your company.

From Eight Feet to an Indoor Stream

As a shop boy in his father’s liquor store, John L. Morris grew frustrated with the lack of tackle in local stores. Sectioning off an 8-foot section in the back of the store, Morris started his own business selling homemade bait and tackle. Morris’ bait became so popular that he started a mail-order catalog service in 1974.

Then, in 1984, Bass Pro Shop’s flagship store, Outdoor World, opened its doors in Springfield, Missouri and soon became one of the most popular places in the area. The venue was large enough to house streams, trees, aquariums, an indoor waterfall and even live animals.

Kind of a Big Deal

Today, Morris’ business has grown to 56 stores in the U.S. and Canada and a popular mail-order catalog. Attracting more than 4 million visitors yearly, the original Bass Pro store in Springfield, Missouri is the state’s top tourist attraction. In 2010, Bass Pro Shops made number 96 on Forbes top 100 Businesses, and last year the store jumped to number 93.

Humility at Its Best

Even with fame and fortune brought to him by his business, Morris is known for his humility and involvement within his company. It has been said that Morris has a quirky habit to make his driver stop so that he could take photos of interesting trees for inspiration for the interior of his stores.

Morris is also involved in testing the products. In an interview with Bass Pro Shops President Jim Hagale, he said that Morris often described their roles and relationships well. “He (Morris) said, ‘I think we’re a pretty good team. You stay here and work, and I’ll go and test the product.'” Remembering his roots, Morris is still making small steps to improve and build his business.

Bait and Much More

Though Bass Pro Shops grew to be one of the biggest hunting/fishing/outdoor retailers in the world, it has more to offer than just gear and guns.

  • Outdoor World Television: Offering a whole televised experience of hunting, fishing and the outdoor world, Outdoor World Television has won many top industry awards.
  • Big Cedar Lodge: Taking up 850 acres at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, this resort offers tons of activities from boating to skiing to fishing and more.
  • Dogwood Canyon Nature Park: Hidden deep in the Missouri Ozarks, this 10,000 acre wilderness is open to the public for historic tram tours, hiking, biking, horseback riding and, of course, trout fishing.

From an 8-foot section to a top brand and successful business, Bass Pro Shop’s story should be a perfect example to all those entrepreneurs out there who are reaching to the stars and waiting to watch their business grow into something amazing. Don’t be afraid to start small. Eventually baby steps could get you to where you want to be or even take you further.

The Guns of Chicago

Every year during the summer months a number of Chicagoans get killed because of gang violence. The politicians are always called upon to do “something.” The most “media friendly” thing to do is to blame it all on gun ownership.

The media had a great time this month covering all the anti gun marches. They were staged by, none other than the “King of Political Correctness,” Rev. Jesse Jackson, aided by his comrade, the pastor of Saint Sabina Church, Father Michael Pfleger. Chicago’s Mayor, Richard M. Daley, threw in some anti gun rants of his own, while TV cameras rolled.

On one occasion Jackson and Pfleger marched on Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale. According to several sources, Father Pfleger twice threatened to “snuff out” the owner of the store. I’m all for free speech, but it’s interesting how hypocritical “political correctness” can be. Don Imus just made a bad choice of words on his radio show. His mistake was spread by the media throughout the world and eventually resulted in his firing. Father Pfleger, on the other hand, threatened to kill a law abiding citizen, yet there was very little mention of it in the media. It seems that if you’re on the “pro-media” side, you are allowed freedom of speech, otherwise, your reputation could be ruined.

Another headline grabbing program was the plea to turn in your gun at designated churches and police stations with no questions asked. For this good deed you would get a one hundred dollar debit MasterCard.

On Saturday July 22, 2007 the city of Chicago, collected 6700 guns from its citizens. This “event” gave the local media days of the “heart wrenching” news coverage they crave. According to the media, this year, Chicago’s gun turn-in program was the largest ever, even beating all other gun turn-in programs throughout the country.

There are several reasons why I think such programs are bad for America.

  1. The guns are turned in anonymously. Some of the guns could have been used in the commission of capital crimes. It will be harder to prosecute someone if the weapon he committed the crime with was turned over to the city and destroyed.
  2. Guns that are old and don’t work well can be turned in to get a down payment to buy a more modern weapon.
  3. Instead of destroying all the guns, some may wind up as police secondary weapons known also as “throw aways.” Recent events have shown that the Chicago Police Department can’t be trusted.
  4. Hardened criminals, who aren’t concerned with ditching the evidence, will never turn in their guns.
  5. Statistically, gun turn in programs do not reduce crime.

God-given rights are protected by the U.S. Constitution. One of the God-given rights is the right to life. It, then follows, that you have the right to protect your life. In the modern world, gun ownership is a reasonable means of protecting your life from criminal elements. Chicago’s law prohibiting gun ownership in the city is not only unconstitutional, but violates a God-given right to protect one’s self.

Chicago leaders insist that we can adequately be protected by the Chicago Police Department. This month the media discovered the existence of a list of hundreds of police officers that had more than ten complaints from the public. Recently, there were officers on trial for robbing drug dealers, beating up a female bar tender, and assorted other night club incidents. I’ve been told by a former policeman that there are a lot of alcoholic officers out there, but related statistics are hard to find. With such a reputation, it’s hard to believe that the current police force can effectively act as our “guardian angels.”

Even if the police force is perfect, officers only arrive after the crime has been committed. Having a weapon can deter the criminal and save our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Chicago’s law, however, makes it illegal to save your own life if it’s done with a firearm.

Taking guns off the streets does not reduce crime, but doing the opposite works a lot better. Everywhere concealed carry laws (laws that allow ordinary citizens to carry weapons) have been enacted the crime rate plummeted. Guns in the hands of reasonable people lower crime.

Kennesaw, Georgia is known as “Gun Town USA.” In March 1982 the small town of Kennesaw unanimously passed an ordinance requiring each head of household to own and maintain a gun. Kennesaw’s law was amended in 1983 to exclude convicted felons, those who conscientiously object to firearm ownership, and those with a mental or physical disability that would make firearm ownership dangerous. The crime rate fell after this law was passed, and even though the population grew five fold, the crime rate is still lower than the pre-1982 rate. This town has also remained murder free during the past twenty-five years.

Realistically, Kennesaw doesn’t have street gangs like Chicago. The citizens of Chicago haven’t been able to legally own guns since 1982, yet gang related shootings are still common. It is illogical for Chicago officials to think that stricter gun laws are going to stop the gangs. Gangs don’t care about the law, and they’ll still be able to get as many guns as they want. On the other hand, law abiding citizens have to depend on Chicago’s highly flawed police force for their protection.

For the record, I don’t personally own a gun. I’ve fired a rifle many years ago when I was in the army. Right now, I carry a small can of mace as protection. One day, I expect the city’s control-freak lawmakers to even ban the mace. If it were legal, I’d get a small pistol and carry it in addition to the mace. I’d learn everything about my weapon and periodically go to a gun range so that I could practice hitting my intended target properly. Ever since I’ve been carrying my mace(30 years), I’ve never had to use it. The same would hold true if I was carrying a gun. The difference would be that I’d have a stronger sense of safety and more peace of mind.

It’s time for Chicago politicians and preachers to wise up. Reverend Jackson, Father Pfleger, and you too Mayor Daley, more gun control will not affect the carnage. The nature of our corporate alien society is what drives the gangs. Rising poverty, dissolution of the family, “politically correct” schools, and “audience hungry” media are some of the real factors that need to be addressed.

The Pros and Cons of the Planet Eclipse Geo 2.1 and Ego 11 Paintball Guns

When it comes to purchasing paintball markers, there are many options available today. Two popular models among paintball aficionados include the Ego 11 and the Planet Eclipse Geo 2.1 paintball gun.

Both of these guns are good options for those who are looking for a quality paintball marker at a reasonable price. Still, there are pros and cons associated with both guns. Therefore, before making any purchase, it is important to learn more about what each of these paintball guns has to offer.

Ego 11 paintball guns, which are manufactured by Planet Eclipse, have many pros to offer. For example, Planet Eclipse has taken steps to control the speed of the bolt in the marker so it can better handle brittle tournament paint. This also improves the feel of the gun while also reducing the sound signature.

Unfortunately, creating a more gentle acceleration and deceleration system also has its drawbacks. Namely, the tradeoff for a smoother feel is a slower cyclic speed. This, in turn, slows down the rate of fire. To address this issue, the paintball gun features twin flow control devices that allow you to tune the speed, rate and feel of the marker. The Ego 11 also features the Push On Purge System, or POPS system, which allows the marker to gas up and de-gas in just a fraction of a second and with very little effort.

Some additional features of the Ego 11 include:

* New, ergonomic frame design with a higher grip position
* ROF indicators
* Refill counters
* Audible beeper
* Timers
* Ability to connect to a PC (with the use of the optional E-Portal2 kit)

Clearly, the fact that users can adjust the Ego 11 paintball gun to suit their individual needs is the greatest benefit this marker has to offer. This also makes it a good choice for those who know what they are looking for in a gun. For those who do not need this same level of adjustability, the Planet Eclipse Geo 2.1 paintball gun is a good option.

This marker comes with a spring-load drive core, which prevents air loss on the firing stroke and previously wasted air in the valve chamber. It also provides improved efficiency and faster recharge of the valve chamber by ensuring the chamber is fully sealed prior to refilling upon bolt return stroke.

The Geo 2.1 also offers an SL3 in-line regulator which is more accurate, consistent and provides faster recharge than in prior versions. It will also allow the Geo 2.1 to function with LP, MP or HP tanks equally with no variance in performance or velocity.In short, the Ego 11 and Planet Eclipse Geo 2.1 paintball guns are both good options for those who are looking for a quality paintball marker. Before making a purchase, however, it is always smart to do a bit of shopping around in order to find the marker that is right for you.