Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

March 4, 2013

Bait shop owners say goodbye

GOSHEN — After 34 years, a local staple among hunters and fisherman, has closed its doors.

Travel Tender, located at 1310 Lincolnway East, Goshen, closed Feb. 24 on owner Ernie Borntrager’s 72nd birthday. The time was right to retire, he said.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said.

Borntrager and his wife, LaVerda, have run the store since they took it over as an recreational vehicle supply store in 1979.

The couple, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in June, plan to visit their children in Tennessee, Georgia and Illinois, as well as travel to Alaska after decades of managing the bait and tackle store.

“It’ll be nice to go visit (family) together, instead of one at a time,” Ernie said.

Since the store closed, the couple has been working with an auction house to sell off remaining inventory later this month.

Ernie and LaVerda credit their customers for allowing them to keep the store going for as long as it did.

“We really enjoyed it, great customers,” Ernie said. “They’re all sorry to see us go, but they are happy for us.”

Throughout their years in Goshen, Ernie said the store was only closed three days a year; Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter.

The nondescript store managed to continue to serve sportsmen, despite competition from larger chain stores moving into the city.

“Well when Walmart (came) in, we about lost it then. They tore us up real bad, but we switched to catering to the bass fishermen, that’s what saved us,” Ernie said. “Our customers tell us the bigger corporations aren’t personal.”

“The fisherman like to come in, chat and visit and swap stories,” he said.

For the Borntragers, the customers came first. Ernie said he built the business based around what they wanted, not what he wanted.

“Ernie had a great rapport with the whole community,” LaVerda said. “We’re really going to miss them, because we’re kind of like a family.”

“Rarely do we go anywhere; groceries or a restaurant or wherever, that there isn’t someone who doesn’t wave or say hi and want to talk with us,” she said. “We’re going to miss that, but it’ll be nice to slow down.”

Ernie said the business got in the way of his own desire to enjoy the products he was selling.

“The fishermen want to go out early in the morning and then late in the afternoon, so it’s time consuming,” he said.

“I enjoy fishing and hunting,” he said. “But then I realized that I don’t get to do it as much when I’m standing behind a counter.”

“You get grouchy standing behind the counter, listening to all these guys going fishing,” he joked.

Managing the small business has been rewarding for the pair, but seeing the store come to an end hasn’t been easy.

“As it gets more empty, the sadder I’m getting, it’s been such a big part of our life,” LaVerda said.

“I hate to leave,” said Ernie.

The pair agreed that leaving behind their customers will be the hardest part.

“(Customers) would say ‘we could come here and get everything we needed’ and now where are they going to go,” LaVerda said. “There just isn’t another place for them to go, so that does tug at our hearts.”

“It’s a two-way street,” she said. “We appreciate them and they appreciate us, and that’s sort of the bottom line.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • GN140420 ysk kalil 01.jpg You Should Know: Anthony Kalil GOSHEN -- Goshen native Anthony Kalil has been awarded a Richard Trucker Career Grant, which includes a $10,000 cash prize. He currently lives in New York. The grant is awarded to three of America's top young opera singers who are selected after a by

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140420 The 39 Steps Taking 'Steps' in Bristol BRISTOL -- The Elkhart Civic Theatre crew is set to present the classic Alfred Hitchcock mystery "The 39 Steps" at The Bristol Opera House. Performances of "The 39 Steps" are planned for two weekends -- this coming Friday and Saturday and May 2 and 3

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140420 Kokomo Tornado 03 Recent decisions by FEMA have frustrated state and local leaders KOKOMO, Ind. -- Pamela Jackson thought she was lucky to escape harm as a tornado bore down on her neighborhood last November. She huddled in a bathroom with her two disabled sons, critically ill husband and six other family members as the twister ble

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140418 ghs high mileage team 12.jpg Goshen High School Super Mileage team to compete in national competition for third straight year GOSHEN -- The Goshen High School Super Mileage team is heading to Houston this week to compete in the Shell Eco Marathon for the third consecutive year. The team, led by engineering technology teacher J.J. Johnson, is taking two cars to the competiti

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • BIZ GN0420 tech talk image Mistakes businesses make with their home page Mistakes businesses make with their home page

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140420 boston marathon 04.jpg Undeterred by last year's bombing, several locals return for Monday's Boston Marathon GOSHEN "Boston Strong" is the moniker that emerged from Boston a year ago, describing the way people dealt with the tragic events that marred the 117th annual running of the Boston Marathon. Three spectators were killed and 264 more people injured w

    April 19, 2014 5 Photos

  • GN140419 good friday 04 Local Christians reflect in advance of Easter Sunday GOSHEN - Members of the community gathered at First Presbyterian Church of Goshen to observe Good Friday with a Stations of the Cross tour.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Briefly Elkhart Store opens at mall Creative Life Memories is now open at Concord Mall. The store is owned by Jose Elizalde, a native of Chicago, Goshen College graduate and resident of Elkhart County. CLM specializes in engraving and personalizing small gif

    April 19, 2014

  • GN140419 cyclists return 05 Trio of GC alums return from Pan-American trek GOSHEN — The dream for a pan-American cycling adventure was born for Levi Smucker, Abe Stucky, and Michael Miller on the couches in a dormitory room at Goshen College in late 2010,

    April 18, 2014 5 Photos

  • GN140419 children's book experience 'Children's Book Experience' Saturday at Better World Books

    A “Children’s Book Experience” for young people in elementary and middle school is set from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Better World Books in downtown Goshen.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest