Wednesday, September 21, 2011

52 Trade Houses Part 25: Holiday Stores of Minnesota

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Over the course of the next year, we'll be detailing the history of 52 companies that sold branded fishing tackle. 52 trade houses in 52 weeks -- some obscure, some famous, and all available exclusively here on the Fishing for History Blog! If you have any items from the week's entry you'd like to share with us, please send it my way and I'll make sure it makes it on the blog.

For a discussion of what exactly trade tackle is, Click Here. Enjoy the 52 for 52!

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Trade House Tackle, Part 25:

Holiday Stores of Minnesota

Another Minnesota-based company that sold a great deal of fishing tackle was the Minneapolis-based Holiday Companies. Founded in 1928, it was originally an auto parts chain that, like so many other similar companies, eventually expanded into sporting goods and then fishing tackle.

Holiday Sports began in the early 1960s as "part of the Minneapolis-based Holiday Stores, an innovative group of retail stores that combined a wide selection of groceries and merchandise into one superstore. The concept had significant name recognition and was perceived as a low-price, limited-service operator with breadth and depth in product lines. Holiday was recognized as a leader in hunting and fishing equipment, offering a selection that was among the largest in the Twin Cities area. Holiday operated four freestanding Holiday Sports stores in addition to a number of other retail operations." Thus read a financial report issued by Gander Mountain, a company that Holiday eventually bought out.

Eventually there were a large number of Holiday outlets, all of them selling Holiday branded fishing tackle. Most of the packaging has the words "Manufactured for Holiday Stores, Minneapolis, MN 55431" somewhere on the package.

Everything from hooks to rods were branded with the distinctive Holiday logo. Here are a pair of representative line spools, both monofilament spools.

1960s Holiday mono spool.

1970s Holiday mono spool.

The most commonly found marked Holiday tackle are the fishing reels. There must be two dozen or more different Holiday models, and here are some representative examples.

Fly reels were popular in the Holiday line:

A Medalist style fly reel made in Japan.

A Holiday automatic fly reel and box, also made in Japan.

Bait casters and level winds were also popular. Here's a saltwater Holiday reel.

A Holiday 1182 surf casting reel.

Spincasters are perhaps the most easily found. Here is one of their most popular models.

A Holiday spin cast reel.

Ben Wright lists four different styles of spinning reels, from an ultra light to a large saltwater model.

Holiday Stores also sold a lot of fishing lures. I own a nice three-pack of Japanese-made River Runt clones, and I've seen everything from Rapala knock offs to Daredevle imitations. While not all Holiday tackle was imported, most of it was.

Holiday Stores is still around today. One of their branches--Holiday Stationstores--has over 100 stores across ten states, and the parent company still has a presence in the sporting goods world. In 1995, Holiday Stores purchased a small chain of sporting goods stores in the Twin Cities called Burger Brothers, and then in 1996 Gander Mountain (a Wisconsin chain store) was purchased by Holiday, who then rebranded all their existing Holiday Sports Stores as Gander Mountains and relaunched the chain in 1997. Today, the only Holiday store converted to Gander Mountain that still exists is in Fridley, Minnesota.

Holiday sold a lot of branded fishing tackle and although most of it is in the mid-to-lower end of the tackle scale, it is still a fun post-war trade house who's tackle is colorful and affordable to all collectors.

-- Dr. Todd

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