DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The manager of Credit Island Bait Shop in west Davenport walks barefoot to work most days.
Lisa Benningfield, who has proudly worn that hat since April 2016, lives on site with her family in the five-bedroom house attached to the popular roadside store at 2304 W. River Drive. Outside of regular business hours, chances are the mother of two is home and willing to greet customers early in the morning or late at night.
“Call or ring the doorbell, and we’ll let you in,” she said on Jan. 5, standing without shoes or socks behind the front counter.
That level of hospitality likely will not change Feb. 1, when a new owner takes over the enterprise frequented by area anglers.
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Longtime owners Alan and Alice Kump struck a deal with Chad and Terri Kinsey of Viola, Illinois, a Mercer County community about 30 miles south of the store.
“It’s time to let somebody else have their shot at it,” Alan Kump said on Jan. 5, calling the shop his baby. “Hopefully, he’ll (Chad Kinsey) be able to do a better job than me.”
The Kumps purchased the property almost 18 years ago and lived there with their children for about 14 years. The couple now lives in Rock Island, closer to Alan Kump’s primary business, C.I. Signs & Laser Art in Milan.
While they will miss their loyal customers, they were pleased to find buyers they knew personally. The Viola couple also owns Kinsey Machine Shop in Galesburg, Illinois, and they have purchased signage and other merchandise from the Kumps over the years, the Quad-City Times reported .
Keeping fishermen in mind, the sellers really want to see the store — across the street from the entrance to Credit Island Park — survive and thrive.
“Without that bait shop, there’s really nothing left in Davenport,” Alan Kump said, specifically referring to bait and tackle shops. “But who knows? He (Kinsey) may tear it all down and put a McDonald’s there.”
Kinsey said on Jan. 5 that he and his wife intend to continue operating the institution as is.
“I’ve hunted and fished my whole life,” he said. “You won’t really see any changes.”
Kinsey said they plan to reorganize the interior and update inventory before the busy spring season arrives. Alan Kump originally marketed the lot for $300,000, but he did not disclose the sale price. The Scott County Assessor’s Office valued the property at $85,790 the past two years.
On Jan. 5, Bill Bolton of Davenport stopped by to pick up tungsten jigs and wax worms for a weekend of ice fishing.
“I’ve been coming here since before I even knew how to fish,” he said. “It’s a landmark.”
The shop, however, did not have the lures he was searching for, but Kinsey later said he will order new items upon request.
Alice Kump said she will miss many aspects of Credit Island Bait Shop, including the stink bait anglers use to land catfish in area waters. The foul-smelling gunk gives the place its distinct stench.
She will not miss the days when the nearby Mississippi River floods and they have to build a wall of sandbags around the shop.
“We had no clue what we were getting into, but it’s all been good,” Alice Kump said of the experiences there throughout the past two decades. “You just learn as you go.”
Benningfield, the manager, said she, too, learns something new every day on the job. It appears her family has settled in there as well.
Beside his mother behind the counter, Kane, 3, greeted another visitor with a smile on Jan. 5.
“We have worms,” he said, grabbing a container of the crawling creatures from the refrigerator. “These are my best friends.”
Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com