Sporting Goods Business

What I did for 50 years of my life.

In the 1960s I was going to college and hanging around the top sporting goods store of the times in Sacramento, California, Sports Unlimited on Arden Way.  After some time they asked me if I wanted a part time job in the fishing tackle department. I said yes and this started my life long career in the sporting goods business. After a while I asked if I could also take over the ordering of the reloading department because no one was doing that job. We had a shop in the back with three professional gunsmiths where they did the warranty work for most major gun brands.
Our store manager, Harry Boley, bought his own store, West Capitol Rod & Gun in West Sacramento, and moved on. Soon Harry asked me if I wanted to work for him so I moved over there. It was a top bait-n-tackle shop in the area. We had some great times there, hunting and fishing.

After some time Harry was having some financial issues so I went to work at the Tower of Sports on Howe Avenue in Sacramento. This was a major sporting goods store at the time and had a gun shop with 3 gun smiths. We hjad lots of good times, hunting and fishing.

In 1975 our Cortland Line Company Rep, Joe Patterson, got me connected with Neil Bohannon who had a successful fly shop in the bay area. We partnered up and opened the Fly Hutch Sacramento. It was the first real serious fly shop in Sacramento. We did well from the first month we were open. After a year I realized that I did not want to be  in a partnership with anyone so I left the shop, giving my part to Neil.

Soon I opened my own fly shop, Fly Fishing Unlimited, near the intersection of Fulton & Marconi Avenues. I did well because there was a great need for fly fishing equipment in the large growing city of Sacramento.

In the late 1970s we got divorced which was a sad time for us. I sold my store and did some wondering for a few years. Luckily I had dear friend, Mike Ziem, who let me live with him and even gave me a job. I framed houses with other friends, Craig and Paul Ziegler.

By 1984 I was feeling better so I opened my last store, Kiene’s Fly Shop, at the corner of Fulton & Marconi Avenues in the Mueller Shopping Center. I did very well there expanding 5 times in the same center over the next 10 years or so.

In 1990 I met Marilyn Eernisse-Wheeler from Davis, California on a blind date at the Davis Fly Fishers annual dinner. We had a lot in common having small family farming in our backgrounds and having both been divorced with children. we soon married and Marilyn retired from her job at UC Davis and went to work helping me run my ever growing fly shop.


Reunion of Sports Unlimited and Tower of Sports staff:

Bob Dunlap, Mark Cooper, Charlie Young, Stan Hansen, me, Rusty Wagner, Art Welch, Randy Orzalles.

Missing were Rod Royer, Bruce Thrasher, Harry Boley, Lew Pia, Tom Baird……


The Geezer Patrol … good friends from the Greatest Generation.


Henry Starr, Joe Patterson, Joe Shirshac, me, Chuck Campana, George Martin ,Walt Bennett

These wonderful guys where all top veteran fly fishers from Sacramento, California who helped me my entire career.