Robert Noles/Opelika Observer
By Morgan Bryce
As deer season launches in Alabama, so is Opelika’s newest hunting and fishing goods store, Reynolds Outdoors.
Owned and operated by father-and-son duo Clay and Tyler Reynolds, the store opened for business Aug. 24, and will soon be hosting a grand opening celebration Oct. 29. Reynolds replaces the well-known Opelika establishment, Story’s, and Tyler, co-owner, said that there have only been slight changes made since they purchased the building and business back in the spring.
“We had heard about Mr. Story getting ready to retire and turn the store over. So, my dad started talking to him about that and the opportunity arose,” Tyler said. “My dad and I talked about it, and we wanted to make sure that the same folks who shopped here when it was Story’s shop here now at Reynolds. Keeping the same phone numbers, same employees … things still feel the same and hopefully the old Story’s customers will still feel comfortable while they’re here in Reynolds shopping, despite some of the changes.”
Tyler, a Camp Hill native, said that he developed his passion and love for the outdoors at a young age.
“My dad had a passion for hunting, fishing and the outdoors and he passed that down to me … I started hunting when I was two or three with my dad and killed my first deer at seven,” Tyler said. “I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and hunting and fishing.”
After visiting some of Alabama’s premiere outdoor shops like Mark’s Outdoors in Birmingham. he said he and his father discussed the need for a similar store in the Opelika area.
“My wheels turned in my head about how there’s not a store like Mark’s in this area, but that the area could and would support a store like that. My dad and I kinda always joked around how fun it would be to run and own a store like this down the road … just didn’t expect it to happen this soon in life,” Tyler said. “It’s definitely been stressful at times … thinking to myself, ‘what am I doing?’ … there were definitely moments of nervousness but also excitement. It’s been something that I’ve always wanted to do.”
In addition to his background and knowledge, Tyler is also well prepared for business because of his education, as he already has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn University, and is working toward completing his MBA, which he will finish in December.
Since purchasing the store, the Reynolds have repaved the parking lot, eliminated the grocery and hardware sections of the store, and no longer offer check-cashing services, which according to Tyler, is to make the atmosphere in the store as family friendly as possible.
“We want it to be a really family-friendly environment. We cut out alcohol, tobacco and check cashing just to promote that,” Tyler said.
With those reductions comes expansion in other ways, as Tyler said they have expanded their gun and clothing brands, with well-known gun maker Kimber and clothing line Drake headlining the new products that are now available at Reynolds.
Tyler said that he and his father’s ultimate goals for the store are to compete and outdo other, larger chain outdoor stores, as well as become the area’s destination for all their hunting and fishing needs.
“We’ve got to compete with those guys on selection and price and all types of things … which will pose a challenge, but at the same time, we offer a lot of things they don’t offer. We offer the customer service they don’t … for example, if you buy a deer rifle, we can mount your scope, boresight your rifle and send you out to the woods for no extra charge, where our competition on the other hand, won’t do anything extra,” Tyler said. “Our goal is to build up a reputation and a store that is built on family values and strong customer service that not only folks in Auburn and Opelika will come to, but folks in the surrounding towns will come and get their hunting and fishing supplies here.”
The grand opening is Oct. 29, from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. There will be three guns, rods and reels and other door prizes given away throughout the day, as well as free food, drinks and storewide discounts.
“We hope that for the folks who shop here all the time, hopefully they’ll be able to come in and get a good sale or a deal and be rewarded for being a loyal customer. Also, on the flip side of that, hopefully folks that don’t come in here will hear about us and the grand opening and will come and check us out,” Tyler said. “We’re not just looking for a one-time customer. We’re looking for a repeat customer.”
Reynolds regular store hours are 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To learn more about the products and services they offer, visit http://www.reynoldsoutdoors.net or call (334) 745-7642.