HAMBURG – Mark Gardner, a life-long resident of Hamburg, opened Lil’ Wigglers bait shop on July 19, 2014, after much urging and pushing of family and friends.  He said he’d been selling worms out of his house for the last three years anyway, but he was told it was time to make it official.
Gardner describes his shop as set up for catfish and carp fishing, or river fishing.  He carries rods, hooks, weights, line, rigging, and live bait including goldfish and four types of worms.  He also carries pop, water, and snacks.
He does not carry any hunting items, and says he has no intention to add them, as there are too many government hassles there.  
At least for now this is a seasonal business, operating for the six months from April to October, and he is open seven days a week.  Gardner said he is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, and 6 a.m. to 8-9 p.m. on weekends.
“Turnout’s been pretty good so far,” he said, “they’re not lining up down the block or beating down the door, but we’ve had steady flow.”  
Business has apparently been good enough that Gardner’s already looking to the future.  “I started out with about $1,800 of inventory,” he explained, “but I’d like to step that up to about $6,500 worth by next spring.”  
Gardner plans to expand the bait line, and add some standing racks, so he’ll have more room on the walls for merchandise. 
Standing next to the 300 gallon tank of goldfish, Gardner explains that the business is a family operation.  “Stacy and I and my step-daughter Emily all put in time here,” he said, “and every five days my brother-in-law, Pat Kahue, brings in fresh cold water for the goldfish tank.  Altogether there are six of us that have a key to the business, so somebody can always cover.”
Gardner points out that that is really handy since there’s no restroom in the shop. “If anyone ever shows up and the door is locked, just call the number listed on the outside,” he said, “and someone will show up to unlock the door.”
Picking up some of his merchandise, he smiles, “There’s actually several things in here that I have competitive or better prices on than the big chain sporting shops,” Gardner says proudly, explaining that his goal is to share his hobby and keep his prices fair, so families can afford to enjoy fishing together.