Decker’s targets archery experience
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Jerry Decker’s favorite part about owning Decker’s Bows and More in East Benton, is getting a chance to talk shop with his customers.
Decker, who started the business in 1991 from his basement, has built it into a 16,000 square-foot archery mega-center.
The business, located on Route 438 off exit 201 of I-81, has been there since 1995 and features two 20-yard paper ranges, and a 40-yard 3D shooting range in the two-level establishment, along with a wide varsity of archery and hunting supplies.
“We try to carry the stuff that the big box stores don’t have,” Decker said. “We also fix bows. We can work on just about any bow that comes through the door.”
Decker said that the business will work on crossbows, compound bows and re-curve bows and will also build arrows with custom colors and fletching.
He and his wife Cindy are coming off the busiest month of the year for the business, as customers rush through the doors in September to get ready for the deer archery season.
Decker said that he is also kept busy by customers coming in just to ask questions.
“I go on a lot of hunts, so guys will come in and pick my brain,” Decker said.
Decker also hosts archery tournaments from the establishment, the most recent of which was the International Bowhunting Organization State Tournament.
“I had a few hundred people from the east coast come here to shoot,” Decker said.
The business also holds private lessons for youth archers on Thursday evenings.
Decker said he believes that people keep coming back because of the business’ service and knowledge of the industry.
Kevin O’Malley of Kingsley who was at Decker’s on Friday said that it’s the business’ attention to detail that keeps him coming back.
“He’s a definite expert in his field,” O’Malley said. “I’ve been coming in here for seven years. And I’ve bought two bows from Jerry.”
Decker said that the indoor 3D range is one of the more unique aspects of the business and provides hunters with a realistic place to practice their technique.
“It gives guys something to do in the winter,” Decker said. “It’s more realistic.”
The range features a wide variety of targets, and was painted and constructed by Decker himself, as was the rest of the building.
“I used to be in construction,” Decker said. “I built houses for 12 years before starting this business.”
Since his humble beginnings in the early 1990s, Decker hasn’t looked back, and enjoys chatting with and helping out his customer base.
Decker said that customers come in from all over the region, with repeat customers from as far away as Long Island, N.Y.
“I love dealing with the customers,” Decker said. “And I think that’s why we have a lot of repeat business.”
John Critelli of Crystal Lake said that he enjoys the good service that Decker has to offer.
“I’ve been coming in here for five years,” Critelli said. “They have a little bit of everything.”
There is a definite family atmosphere in Decker’s, with hunters coming in and out of the store to share stories, ask questions and show off animals they get mounted.
“Guys bring in old mounts that they don’t have room for,” Decker said. “I take them and hang them up down here so people can look at them.”
Decker’s hours are, Monday: closed; Tuesday: 7 p.m.-10 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday: 2 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
For more information, call 563-2499 or visit www.deckersbowspa.com