Herb Bauer Sporting Goods is closing at 68 years in business. Image via Herb Bauer Facebook page.
Written by Gabriel Dillard
After 68 years in business, Fresno retailer Herb Bauer Sporting Goods is closing with the retirement of its second-generation owners.
What started as a liquor store near the corner of Belmont and Blackstone avenues grew into the region’s most recognizable locally owned sporting goods shop in an era when major chains such as Sports Authority and Sport Chalet have closed.
A new store, Southern California-based Turner’s Outdoorsman, will take over the space on Blackstone Avenue just north of Bullard Avenue, with plans to hire Herb Bauer’s hunting and fishing employees.
After serving in the Navy during World War II, Herb Bauer opened the store in 1950, originally as a liquor store that morphed into a liquor and sporting goods store with an emphasis on hunting and fishing equipment. In 1958 he moved to a larger location at Blackstone and Hedges avenues, eventually adding an indoor archery and pistol range as well as an outdoor snow ski training slope and a swimming pool for scuba training.
Herb Bauer Sporting Goods moved to its current location in 1980, and added departments including The Boardroom for snowboarders, wakeboarders and skateboarders as well as cycling and kayaks.
Herb’s son Barry Bauer took over the family business in 1998, and owns it along with siblings Reggie and Sheryle.
“We are in good health, and simply retiring,” according to a news release from the retailer.
“Unfortunately, we have not found a buyer for our camping, winter sports, water sports and cycling departments. This is a void that needs to be filled and it is a great opportunity for an energetic entrepreneur,” according to the release.
A retirement “everything must go” sale will begin on Thursday.
The store that will replace Herb Bauer — Turner’s Outdoorsman — began in 1971 in Long Beach, and has since grown to 21 stores, mostly throughout Southern California. It recently expanded to Northern California with a location in Salinas. Another planned store for San Carlos in San Mateo County was blocked by the city council in November due to concerns from residents about the store selling guns and ammunition.