Brinkman brothers retiring from bait and tackle shop

The brothers are hoping someone will want to take over the business, one of the last bait shops in the area.

End of an era: Brinkman’s Live Bait and Tackle, located at 4999 Linden Ave., will soon close its doors. Above, Bill Brinkman started full time at his family’s shop in 1977. He will soon retire. LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO

It was a family tradition since 1961.

But at the end of this year, Bruce and Bill Brinkman will hang up their fishing gear and head off to retirement.

The two currently run Brinkman’s Live Bait and Tackle, located at 4999 Linden Ave. It’s jam-packed with any kind of fishing gear you could imagine needing, and is one of the only such stores in the area.

“Customers have been asking what will happen to the shop with us leaving,” Bill said.

The optimistic answer: They will find someone to take over the store and continue selling the same type of fishing products. But they are also prepared to sell the building and close the business for good in case they can’t find a replacement.

They have until the end of the year to decide.

Brinkman’s is a tightly packed shop with every square inch displaying all kinds of fishing equipment, from rods to reels to nets. When you first walk in, you notice a corner covered in photos of customers fishing. You’ll be greeted by either of the brothers or Helen, Bill’s wife.

Behind the counter is a room guarded by two sleepy bulldogs, Emily and Molly. That’s where they keep their live bait, including tanks of minnows and eels, and a refrigerator stocked with worms.

The reason for retiring is a common one.

“His age,” Bill said simply, referring to his older brother Bruce, who is 70. Bill is 56, but said running the store without Bruce’s help would be a difficult task.

The brothers have worked at the store basically their entire lives, pitching in when they were kids. Bruce joined the staff full time after he got out of the service in 1968, and Bill started full time in 1977.

The brothers inherited the store in the mid-1990s. Their grandparents started the business with just $300.

“It’s all family that’s worked here,” Bill said. “It’s a family business.”

As for retirement, Bill has it all planned out.

“Fish. Hunt. Golf,” he said. ••

The store is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. every weekday, with shortened hours on weekends. To contact the store, call 215–632–0674.