Morton Grove store offers everything for dedicated fishermen
Jim Templin, one of the owners of Fishtech in Morton Grove, in the store on Nov. 14. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:14AM
MORTON GROVE — When high school student Jim Templin took a job at Fishtech packing live bait, he never imagined that some day he would own the Morton Grove store.
But more than 20 years later, Templin and fellow former employee Jim Gillen own the store, something of a mecca for people like Templin who love to fish.
“I always knew I loved to fish. Did I anticipate purchasing the store 18 years later? I did not,” Templin said. “Fishing and hunting are me. They were me when I was in high school.”
Templin and Gillen were manager and assistant manager when the former owner retired five years ago. The store has been a feature in Morton Grove for four decades.
Walking into Fishtech, 5802 Dempster St., is like entering another world, at least for a non-fisherman.
The store has many rows of spinners, lures, rods, reels, line and other equipment. A refrigerated glass case holds prepackaged live bait, everything from small and large roaches to dilly worms, trout worms and wax worms.
Templin said customers include not just fishermen but people with pets that eat bugs and worms.
Templin, Gillen and their staff can also arrange for Lake Michigan charters and guides for fishing trips in northern Illinois. They can provide advice on equipment or just the best places to fish.
Templin said that to a great extent, the fishing equipment business has been taken over by big-box stores like Walmart.
But what they can’t offer is the personal service and expertise that customers find at Fishtech.
“All our guys are fishermen,” Templin said. “Everyone who works here is familiar with the area, what’s hot and what’s not. I think that’s what we have going over the big-box stores.”
Fishtech recently began selling archery equipment and, this fall, opened an archery range built along one wall of the shop. Customers can rent a bow and time on the range.
“That’s been kind of a big deal. There’s nowhere around here to shoot a bow,” Templin said.
He said that since taking over the store, it has become more work than it was when he was just an employee. At the same time, he said, he couldn’t have found a better job.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else myself,” Templin said. “To me, I’ve got the perfect job.”