History

Mary’s Bait Shop has been serving Central Ohio sportsmen for forty years now.

Jack McKirgan, a WWII Army Air Corps veteran, and Mary O’Day married in 1946 and raised their family in the Village of Pancoastburg, Ohio, on the banks of Deer Creek.

In 1965, the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of Deer Creek Lake and Dam as a flood control and recreational lake. The gates to the dam were first closed in the spring of 1969 and Deer Creek Lake came into being.

In 1972, after retirement from the trucking industry, Jack and Mary decided to sell nightcrawlers from their front porch as “Mary’s Bait Shop” and the business quickly grew to the point where a stand-alone building was necessary. That building was a 12’ X 12’ shed-style affair that worked for that first summer. During that winter, the shop was moved into the living room of their son, Jack (Butch), while a new 20’ X 40′ building was being constructed on the site of the original building.

By early spring the new building was ready and business grew even quicker than expected. In 1979, Mary’s Bait Shop stepped onto the ground floor of a newly-formed franchise program with Bass Pro Shops as an independent dealer. By 1988, it became apparent that another expansion would be necessary and the building was extended with a new 40’ X 47’ addition.

In 1989, Jack retired and Butch took early retirement from his job to work in the shop. Mary and Butch continued operating the store together until 2000 when Butch wed Ellen, who brought a new type of business insight to the store. Mary and Jack have both passed on, but they left a legacy of friendship and service to their customers that Butch and Ellen strive to continue in a rapidly changing world of outdoor sports.