Bethlehem’s beloved Mac’s Hobby Hall to reopen for sale of fishing tackle and live bait – Reuters

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Just in time for the opening of trout season in Pennsylvania on April 2, a beloved Lehigh Valley hobby store returns with fishing tackle and live bait.

Mac’s Hobby Hall, a store where generations of families have purchased hobby supplies, is set to reopen Wednesday after a roughly 10-year hiatus at 721 Linden St. in Bethlehem, co-owner Lisa Ebner said.

Ebner, of Lower Macungie Township, grew up near the Linden Street store, and his mother, Elva Shuck, ran the business for 21 years until her death in 2012.

Unwilling to close the shop, Ebner and his brother continued to operate it for a brief period after their mother’s death, but the responsibility became too much to handle, with both siblings working at other jobs in full-time.

However, after recently retiring from his job as a labor relations specialist with the United States Postal Service, Ebner decided to team up with his brother again to revive the hobby shop.

“The store closing was devastating for a lot of people in the community because there aren’t many bait and tackle stores around anymore,” Ebner said. “So since I’m retired and we own the building, I’ve been like, ‘Why not reopen it instead of finding another part-time job to keep me busy?'”

Mac’s was founded in 1946 by the late Gertrude Goodman Makagon, known to many friends and customers as “Mrs. Mac,” which originally operated the business on West Fourth Street in south Bethlehem before moving it to the north side of the city in the early 1970s.

Two other owners operated the business through the 1980s before Shuck and her husband, Robert J. Shuck, took over in 1991.

In its new incarnation, Mac’s will carry fishing tackle such as rods, lures and nets, as well as live bait such as minnows and mealworms.

In the coming weeks, there will also be an outdoor, 24-hour vending machine that will sell live bait and tackle outside of normal store hours, Ebner said.

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Previously offered hobby items such as model cars, planes, trains, and rockets will no longer be carried.

“Unfortunately, when we were open, those items just didn’t sell that much,” Ebner said of the mockups. “The kids don’t seem to care about them anymore.”

Ebner and his brother seek to appeal to longtime fishing enthusiasts as well as newbies, the combination of which has grown statewide in recent years.

In fact, with many people seeking outdoor activities during the pandemic, the hobby has seen a surge in popularity, with Pennsylvania fishing license sales jumping from 777,087 units in 2019 to 934,259 in 2020. – an increase of about 20%, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boats Commission.

“We’re looking forward to it, and I think it’s also something the community really wants,” Ebner said. “I can’t believe all the positive responses we’ve received.”

Mac’s will join other local locations for tackle and live bait including Klotz’s Bait & Tackle Shop in Hellertown, Mueller’s General Store & Kitchen in Williams Township, The Shad Den Bait and Tackle in Easton, Mike’s Bait & Sport Shop in Upper Nazareth Township, Willie Marx’s Bait Tackle & More in Whitehall Township, Coplay News Agency Live Bait & Tackle Shop, Archery @ The Glenn in Allentown, Leaser Lake Boats in Lynn Township, The Owl’s Nest Gun & Bow in Pohatcong Township, Chris’s Outdoor Sports in Longswamp Township, and Koren’s Bait & Tackle and Indian Creek Fishing & Firearms, both located in Lehigh Township.

Mac’s Hobby Hall will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Information: 610-866-8465.

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