North Side/Shore Chamber of Commerce Membership Director Anna Yoder says Fish On Bait and Tackle in Observatory Hill will “reel you in!”

By Anna Yoder, Membership Director – North Side/Shore Chamber of Commerce

Photo: Lauren Stauffer

When I was growing up, it was common to find friendly neighborhood stores everywhere run by families who knew you by name, did not rush you out of the store, and made you feel at home. These neighborhood stores were also a place where neighbors and friends could exchange the latest about their kids and local events (read: gossip), or sit for a spell to chat with the owner. I recently experienced that same warm and friendly customer service at Fish On Bait and Tackle. Here is the back story:

When my husband and I moved to Pittsburgh, we brought along our kayak, which needed a launch permit. New to the area, we were unsure of a local place that sold them. (We love to shop local!) A quick search on the internet led us to Fish On Bait and Tackle, located in Observatory Hill. I found Fish On Bait and Tackle tucked between a neighborhood market and a tax services business, with its sidewalk lined with sandwich boards advertising a wide selection of fishing gear, camping equipment, and kayak rentals. Once inside, I was warmly greeted by the owner, Michael and his staff and quickly discovered the sandwich boards were totally accurate! When I expressed interest in a launch permit, the owner invited me to take a seat while the permit was being processed. Through pleasant conversation, I became acquainted with the owner. 

The cheerful owner shared with me that he was one of 10 boys who grew up in the Hill District and acquired his love of fishing from his father, who taught him how to hunt and fish. Because of his hunting and fishing skills, the owner also shared that during the pandemic, his friends joked that if food became scarce—like toilet paper did—they could rely on him for food.   

When I called the store the next day to check on the permit, a staff member answered with a warm hello and called me by name (even though I had not identified myself)! On my return trip to the store, I met another staff member who not only offered me a seat to chat, but also a can of pop to quench my thirst on a hot summer day. You can’t get this type of customer service and hospitality at a big box store.

If friendly service, warm hospitality, and an opportunity to share a story or two while shopping for your fishing gear or camping supplies or renting a kayak appeals to you, take a short drive up to Observatory Hill and visit Fish On Bait and Tackle. (They also sell the nifty, yellow plastic egg containers for transporting eggs anywhere without breakage.) Fish On Bait and Tackle is located at 3868 Baytree Street.

P.S. While visiting Fish On Bait and Tackle, grab a deli sandwich at Observatory Hill Deli or schedule a tax service at M & A Tax Accounting and Notary—both are also owned by Michael and Antoinette Payne.

Anna Yoder is the membership director of the North Side/Shore Chamber of Commerce. Established in 1897, the Chamber’s mission is to “promote, connect and support the growth and success of businesses.” If you have questions about the Chamber or are interested in becoming a member, contact Anna Yoder at anna@northsidechamberofcommerce.com.

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