ELWOOD, Mo. It's opening day of archery season for deer hunters in Missouri, and many bow hunters turn to a small western Greene County store for all their hunting needs. That family-owned business is still open, despite some major damage to their store.
At Batson Dog and Archery Supply, they want their customers to know they're still open for business despite the boards on the front of their building.
It's a very busy time of year for the Batson family. "Guys are procrastinators, so yes, we were in here last night late. Every night this week, we've been late, working on guys' bows and just last minute buying arrows," says Susan Batson, store manager and daughter-in-law of the man who started it all in 1963, Marvin Batson.
"I was looking at maybe a new sight and a new rest, but they've got me all hooked up," says bow hunter and customer John Mitchell.
They're still serving customers, despite a wreck last week that sent a car through their front door. "The lady was very nice, and it was just an accident. Accidents happen," Batson says.
The boarded up building has left some customers confused. "They come open the door; are you guys open?" says Batson.
"I wondered why they were remodeling," says customer Michael Mello.
But they're getting the word out with signs and social media as their busiest season begins. Batson says, "Our friends and customers have just been wonderful and just calling over and over again; is there anything we can do?"
Being in business more than 50 years, they have some loyal customers.
"We have customers come from all over. Down into Arkansas and north Missouri, Kansas, they come from all over the place," says Batson.
Deer hunters are excited to get out in the woods. Mitchell says, "It's kind of like a family and friend type deal where we can all get out together and enjoy each other's company and hunt."
And bow hunters and fishermen, trappers, and dog owners are all pleased to see Batson's is still at their service. "They're a local business; they're not a chain; they have a great layaway program, they know what we're looking for, and they do service on the spot," says Mello.
The Batsons say the wreck destroyed a machine that measures the speed of an arrow, so they'll have to get a new one, and they will have to rebuild the entire front section of their store, but they're kind of looking forward to the upgrade.