published Friday, August 17th, 2012

SmallBiz: Dayton boat dock shop also offers a place to eat

Michael Neal is the owner of Dayton Boat Dock and Grille.
Michael Neal is the owner of Dayton Boat Dock and Grille.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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Name: Dayton Boat Dock & Grill

Location: 175 Lakeshore Drive, Dayton, Tenn.

Phone: 423 428-9090

Owner: Michael Neal

Background: Neal, a 20-year-old junior at Bryan College, said that he has fished since the age of 3, because “my whole family” loved the sport. “It’s the only sport where you compete against other people and the fish one-on-one,” he said.

Products/Services: Boat dock shop — Live bait, crickets and worms; bass and crappy tackle; Ameristep camouflaged hunting blind; rods and reels; life jackets; fishing nets; souvenir t-shirts Restaurant — Opened seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and serves a daily country breakfast; plate lunches on Wednesday through Friday and a regular lunch menu, which includes burgers, sandwiches and salad

Inspiration behind the name: The community bait shop had previous owners, Neal said, and had opened in the late-1960s or early-1970s. He retained the shop’s namesake for recognition and familiarity, but had wanted to expand its inventory and convert one side into a restaurant.

Price range of services: 30 cents for plastic floaters up to $159.99 for a Curado 200G7 reel

Target market: Neal said he wanted to give “everybody a place to meet all their hunting and fishing needs” and enjoy an affordable meal.

Biggest hurdle: He said that understanding the novice fisherman’s needs, as well as the “experienced tournament angler,” has presented a challenge oftentimes.

Lesson learned: Familiarity with places has its appeal, Neal said, but that he wanted to “offer a new face” to the community-classic tackle shop and showcase current trends for new and veteran anglers.

Five-year goal: Neal said his goal includes contributing to the community’s growth by attracting publicity of well-known tournament, such as the FLW tour.

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