Outdoor Sports Dealers Southern Reel, Trader Bill’s to Merge

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Southern Reel Outfitters of Little Rock on Tuesday announced its intention to merge with Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports of Hot Springs.

The two companies have signed a definitive agreement and will form a new company called Innovative Outdoor Management LLC. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In addition to the two current locations, which will continue to operate as a Southern Reel and as a Trader Bill’s, Innovative Outdoor Management plans to open a third location near the intersection of Interstate 30 and Otter Creek in Little Rock.

It will be a Trader Bill’s, and it’s set to open next summer. The new location will include a boat dealership and an expanded offering of sports and outdoor equipment and clothing.

Trader Bill’s was established in 1983 by Bill Elliott and acquired by Mandy and Reji Short in 2000. Southern Reel Outfitters was formed in 2014 by its owner, Rodney Thomason.

“We are pleased to combine our strengths to meet the demand of the marketplace. Arkansans deserve the same options and competitive pricing as big-box stores, but with the added trust and expertise of a locally owned store run by a team of industry leaders,” Owner and CEO Mandy Short said in a news release. “Both our locations are staffed with professional fishermen with over 100 years of combined experience. We also boast the only Master Yamaha Tech in Arkansas.”