And together, Gooch and his brother, Jim, intend to create a complete shop for sportsmen from throughout Southeast Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois and Arkansas.
Joe Gooch explains their business venture began when the men saw a need in the area for quality sports gear for Sikeston residents and those from the surrounding area.
"My brother came up with the idea when Orschelen's closed," said Joe Gooch. "We examined different ways we could develop a business plan to meet the needs of those who hunt, fish or just want to be outdoors."
Their solution was the creation of two businesses in one.
"In the past people didn't have a full line of sporting guns available so they would have to drive somewhere or order. Well, they don't have to do that any more," said Gooch.
Calling his selection of guns one of the largest inventories available between St. Louis and Memphis, Gooch is a full-line dealer for Browning Arms and also offers all major brands of guns, including shotguns, rifles and pistols. Standing at the counter filled with guns, scopes and other accessories and backed by rows of target rifles, hunting rifles and shotguns Gooch joked, "We have everything you need for varmint hunting to paper punching."
The only Benelli dealer in Sikeston, Gooch pointed out these guns are considered the best by many water fowl hunters. Also his shelves have the lighter, smaller guns used by youngsters just getting involved in the sport.
The store carries several major brands of ammunition along with binoculars, flashlights, knives and even some police equipment. Also those who black-powder hunt will find all the supplies they need as well.
Gooch intends to be able to provide for all the sportsman's needs including licenses. Currently he is waiting on the equipment that will enable Southern Rod and Gun to offer hunting and fishing licenses for Missouri.
And, he adds, anything a sportsman needs and it isn't on their shelves, they will order. Gooch said most items will arrive quickly.
It isn't just equipment that will be available through the business. Gooch noted he has hunted and fished all of his life. "When it comes to deer season, my son and I bowhunt, then blackpowder then rifle. If they had a rock season, we would probably be doing that," he said with a laugh. Also Gooch pointed out he is an avid fisherman, taking part in many bass tournaments over the years. This experience, he said, will enable him to provide advice to those wanting to know a little more about the equipment needs for a sport.
Prices on equipment, the owner said, are competitive and at all levels.
Once outfitted with the equipment, sportsmen can fill all the rest of their hunting needs through Feeders Outdoors. The store carries several lines of hunting clothes including Browning Hunting, Columbia, Scent-Lok and Wrangler. Work boots and hunting boots are available, too.
For those who enjoy archery, the store can fill their needs with a variety of bows, arrows and related supplies. Also the outdoorsman will find an extensive selection of hunting and camping equipment, items for their hunting dogs and food for wildlife.
"We see these businesses as creating a place the whole family can enjoy," said Gooch about the three companies located together. "The kids might enjoy watching the pets, while mom checks out the clothes and dad takes a look at the guns."
The new businesses can be accessed through Feeders Pet Supply or by using a driveway just west of the building leading to a large parking area and a doorway into Southern Rod and Gun.
Southern Rod and Gun is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Feeders Pet Supply is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Feeders Outdoors, when it opens, will maintain the same hours.