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“Tackling” Customer’s Needs Since 1950


Bishop Distributing was founded in 1950 by my grandfather Aden Bishop.  With $500, he purchased a van and a small inventory.  He was living with my grandmother in his in-law’s home.  He stored the inventory on shelves and under the bed in their bedroom.  In the early days he was selling “drugs and sundries” to rural general stores.  He began to get requests for some fishing tackle from his customers, so he added those items to his inventory.


A few years later he decided to concentrate on fishing tackle and a few other outdoor items.  By this time, he had a small warehouse and a 15 ft box truck loaded with tackle that he would take to the stores and marinas in central Texas and the hill country.  In the 1970’s I looked forward to summer break when I could go with him on his sales runs.  After servicing a customer, he would stand at the back of the truck and call out the order while I pulled it off of the shelf and boxed it.  It was then that I got “hooked” on the business.


In 1980 my grandfather significantly downsized selling a large portion of the business.  I worked for him part time in the mid-eighties.  In 1987 we formed a partnership, and we began to expand.  In 1989 I bought the company from him and moved the inventory to a small warehouse behind my home.  At that time I altered the operations from carrying the product with me in a truck (truck jobber) and began either delivering orders back or shipping orders to our customers.  This allowed me to begin to increase the items I could offer my customers.


In the early 90’s I purchased a small warehouse and hired a couple of employees.  I was able to hire a salesman from one of my competitors that helped us to grow even faster.  We were covering most of the state of Texas with fishing and outdoor gear.  We began to add some hunting items to our inventory based on our customer requests.  In the late 90’s my wife, Kelly, came into the business full time handling our accounts receivable.


In 2000, I purchased M & M Wholesale Tackle in Tyler, Texas.  This gave us a greater presence in northeast Texas, including Lake Fork, a destination for bass fisherman all over the country.  In 2007, I purchased the Sunbeater Company.  This company, founded in 1938, imported water shoes, inflatables, hats, while selling domestically produced summer and resort goods as well.  This increased our distribution area to 44 states.  We soon relocated to 15,000 sq ft warehouse while utilizing another 8,000 sq ft at a satellite location 


During the past 20+ years, we have purchased or absorbed some smaller distributors and operations as they have closed or their owners retired including BFE Distributing, Bait Services, C & J Bait, Bud’s Sporting Goods, and most recently Matt’s Bait & Tackle.


We continue to be a family operated company with the addition a few years ago of my youngest son, Brady, who is our operations manager.  His wife, MaryClaire, recently joined our team in the sales department.  Our family, along with about 15 other employees are happy to be servicing the tackle and outdoor needs of 100’s of customers in Texas and beyond.


Joe King, President
Bishop Distributing, Inc.