Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Seth Romsa
Staff Writer 

Outdoorsman finds new ownership after 65 years


July 11, 2019

Seth Romsa

New owner Ray Witt poses in front of the Outdoorsman in downtown Worland.

WORLAND – After being under the same ownership family for 65 years, the Outdoorsman has a new set of owners in downtown Worland.

Ray and Sarah Witt recently purchased the store from the Stine family on July 2, starting a new chapter in this store's long history.

The Outdoorsman Sporting Goods store, located at 632 Big Horn Avenue, is the only outdoor activity-oriented store in the Worland area, and has been a staple for a community that has a large variety of outdoor activities to do in the surrounding areas.

"I was involved in the outdoor industry prior to this and it made sense to use that knowledge for this store in a town like Worland," Witt said.

Wanting to move out of the corporate side of outdoor products in Nebraska, Witt decided it was right to move into the ownership role of the Outdoorsman after moving to Worland a few months ago. Sarah had moved here nearly two and a half years ago, but Ray decided he should wait and see his son graduate in Sidney, Nebraska, prior to moving to Worland and join his wife a few months ago.

Since it is the only shop that specializes in outdoor activities, it leaves a prime opportunity for the business to continually be successful in an outdoor-oriented town.

The store has offered camping gear, firearms, and other forms of outdoor activities for years, and Witt hopes to make improvements to the store, while still keeping the nostalgia of the original store in the front of the store.

Within the next year, Ray hopes to remodel the back merchandise area, while bringing in more merchandise to sell and getting the inventory filled back up.

"We have got some work ahead of us and it is not going to be easy," Witt said. "One of the things we hope to keep about the store though, is the nostalgia."

One area he hopes to move the store back into, while rebuffing the inventory, is archery. He hopes to eventually move the store back into the archery side of outdoor activities, but is unsure if it will happen within the first year of business.

With the company being run by the same family for 65 years, it has been a nice honor for Witt to take over the company with former owner Melanie Stine deciding to retire.

"We are honored to take this store over from Melanie," Witt said. "We are excited to offer the opportunity to serve the town of Worland and Washakie County and continue to offer the area the opportunity to shop local."

Another advantage of the store being run by the same owners means that there has been a great adversary to help make the transition smooth. Manager Ken Kucera has helped run the business for 30 years, and has agreed to help stay on with the new ownership.

"Ken is going to stay on and help me out and still manage the store," he said.

"There have only been two people that he has not known since I took over as owner," he jokingly added.

Stine said, regarding her retirement, "I'm 67 and a half. My health is good. There are so many trails I want to explore. I've saved my whole life so I want to retire and enjoy my life."

Stine said she will continue to be active in the Worland Rotary, Washakie Museum and Cultural Center and offering handgun classes.

The Outdoorsman is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. through 5:30 p.m. and closed on Sundays.


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