Original Caption: You'll find both the large and the small in the Missouri bait industry. Johnny Morris (above), president of Bass Pro Shops Inc. of Springfield, presides over Outdoor World, a store and a tourist attraction. The Kansas City Time, Photo credit: Dan Seifert/Special to The Times

Today’s historical photo comes from a story titled, “Missouri Landing Big Bucks On Bass,” in a May, 1989 issue of The Kansas City Times by Brent Frazee, Outdoor Editor.  Frazee was detailing the growing ranks of businesses both big and small in the fishing industry that are contributing to the economy of Missouri.  The photo features a young Johnny Morris of Bass Pro Shops fame, and features a few good details on the store’s beginnings and impact at the time, well before a major expansion put their stores in locations throughout the country.

  • The 150,000-square-foot store is a result of a goal set by Johnny Morris, president of Bass Pro Shops, Inc., to bring the outdoors indoor.  It’s also a success story that symbolizes what fishing has become in Missouri. Big Business.

The Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World is one of the largest contributors to that economy.  Not only is it a retail store, but it has also become the state’s fourth-leading tourist attraction.  More than 3 million people visit the store each year.

  • Outdoor World was the brainstorm of Morris, who founded the Bass Pro mail-order business in 1974. He built the store in 1981 after visiting European sporting goods stores and New England’s L.L. Bean outlet.

“‘They were rolling out the carpet for their mail-order customers,’ he said. ‘I thought, Why don’t we do the same thing for our fishermen?’ We wanted our customers to see our store as their store.”