MURRAY – After 45 years in business, the previous owner of the Murray Bait and Outdoors has leased the business to the owners of Lynnhurst Family Resort.

Martha Gardner said she and her late husband, Fred, who died five years ago, bought the business in December 1973, and they opened it in January 1974.

“With regret, after 45 years of business at Murray Bait Company, I am calling an end to an era that began in 1974,” Gardner said. “I have leased the shop to the owners of Lynnhurst Family Resort. It has been a wonderful journey and I will never forget all the fisherman and friends that Fred and I made throughout the years. I will miss not seeing them again.

“Please continue to support the new owners (who are), good Christian people, as they carry on our legacy.”

Gardner said that when she and Fred purchased the business from the previous owner, it had fallen on hard times. Even so, they thought they could turn it into something special.

“The guy before we owned it before us had bankrupted it, and we knew that, but we had a good friend that was willing to go out on a limb for us,” Gardner said. “The bank told us we’d better make it pay because they sure didn’t want it. We worked 24/7 for about five years and we finally got it back on its feet. At the time, it was a minnow hatchery. There were 52 ponds here and we raised minnows and sold them all over this end of the state. But over the years, as the lake expanded (and more bait shops opened), that wasn’t feasible anymore and we phased all that out.”

Lynnhurst Family Resort is owned by James Miller and Dennis Helmuth. Miller said his son, Seth Miller, will be running the day-to-day operations with assistance from the rest of the team at Lynnhurst Family Resort. James said live bait, skip jack, fishing tackle and dry ice will still be available, and their goal is to have bowfishing, hunting supplies, kayaks, camping gear and other outdoor products stocked by next season. 

“Our mission is to awaken the outdoorsman inside everyone,” James said.