Second hand store, bait & tackle shop open on Route 28 in Arkville

By Brian Sweeney
A bait and tackle shop and a second hand store opened last week in a Route 28, Arkville location. Tom Phillips and Cheryl Myers are proprietors of the dual businesses.

Cheryl is a longtime employee at Belleayre Mountain, but was looking for a venture to operate during the non-skiing season. Several years ago, before it became a TV show craze, she and Tom started buying the contents of storage units and selling any useable items. They had done this work as a sideline (Tom’s day jobs are contracting and landscaping), but the country’s economic slowdown made the couple realize that having a full-time outlet for the goods they purchased would serve a community need. Ironically, it’s the same sluggish economy that has led many folks to simply walk away from paying storage fees — thus the contents go up for auction.

Ideal location
They began looking around for a visible storefront and found the Arkville site (adjacent to Great Woods Market) to be ideal. Cheryl’s Second Hand Goods has been operating for a little more than a week and business has been brisk.

Tom explained that buying storage unit contents at auction is a labor-intensive task. The units are opened for auction attendees, but they are not allowed to enter. After bidders get an arm’s-length look at the contents, the action begins.

Tom said that buying and sorting through storage unit items takes plenty of patience and hard work. And there are no guarantees that the contents will yield a value higher than the auction price. Still, he enjoys the challenges and the surprises.

“It’s a gamble — it’s like going to LasVegas. You’ve got to know what you’re looking for. It’s a lot of fun,” he laughed.

The popularity of shows like “Storage Wars” has made this work much more competitive, but Tom feels his experience often gives him an edge over other bidders. As a result, he usually comes home from auctions with a jam-packed trailer full of goods.

Lots of prep work
Once they painstakingly sift through each item — even flipping through pages of books looking for hidden treasures — Tom and Cheryl dispose of pieces with no value and ready the rest for sale. Now that they have an official store, shelves are filled with appliances, artwork and knick-knacks. There is a huge amount of footwear and clothing in every style and size — all of it having been laundered the prepped for sale. Furniture is also plentiful.

“As soon as we sell something, we bring in more pieces so that customers always have something new to browse,” Tom noted.

He noted that with the unpredictable nature of storage unit contents, there will always be a variety of items available. The business owners also want to keep items affordable.
“Things are priced to sell,” he explained.

Because they were renting a large space, Tom and Cheryl wanted to establish an additional business to draw customers. The announcement that the Pepacton Reservoir would be opened this summer to recreational boating made them feel that fishing activity would also increase on the eastern portion of the reservoir. The couple saw a need for a business catering to fishermen and they decided to open Pepacton Bait and Tackle in the back section of the building.

Lifelong passion
“I was brought up hunting, fishing and trapping and I love these sports,” Tom said. “We have live bait and assorted fishing equipment.”

He said the fishing store opens at 5:30 a.m., so that customers can pick up their bait and hit the waters early. Because a common doorway connects the businesses, both are open until 5 p.m. from Wednesday-Sunday.

Steam cleaning of boats for recreational use on the reservoir is another service that they will add by summer. All boats used on the reservoir must have a certification that they have been properly cleaned to prevent the spread of invasive species such as zebra mussels.
During the warm weather months, Cheryl plans to diversify a bit more and operate a hot dog stand alongside the busy Route 28 location. She is in the process of obtaining permits for that enterprise.

Son pitches in
Tom and Cheryl, who live near Fleischmanns, have a busy schedule, but they are getting plenty of help from their 14-year-old son, TJ Phillips. They also hope to hire additional staff as business dictates.

Tom noted that the pace has been hectic to get everything up and running, but that he, Cheryl and TJ are excited about the prospects for their new ventures.

“These are family-run businesses and we’re enjoying getting everything going,” Tom smiled, taking a quick break from the multiple details still being put into place.
For additional information, please contact Pepacton Bait & Tackle at 845 750-5061 or Cheryl’s Second Hand Goods at 845 750-4534.