Front of The Great Outdoors store on morning of Saturday, September 30
Bob Meadows, bow technician, adjusts a d-loop on a new compound bow.
Bows wait on bow presses to be worked on for the day.
Bob Meadows makes final adjustments on a bow sight.
Bob Meadows scans for a crossbow. After customers buy crossbows off the rack, it is Bob’s responsibility to restock.
Josh Hawkins, left, thanks Bob, middle, for working on his bow.
Compound bows ready for pick-up hang in the back. Behind the workshop is a rack where bows are hung after getting worked on.
Bob works on a screw for a bow sight. A screw was too long so Bob goes to the saw to make adjustments.
Bob, left, holds a fake microphone in Troy Hinderliter’s face.
Bob heads over to the indoor lane to test his work on a compound bow.
After closing time Saturday 30, Bob heads toward the door. Today he changed clothes before leaving for a cookout.
In the small town of Jasper, Indiana sits a hunting goods store on the corner of Southgate shopping center called The Great Outdoors. For 12 years now customers have been coming back for its bow technician, Bob Meadows, as much or more than the goods and services inside the store.
The morning of Saturday, September 30, Bob came into the store at 9 a.m. and prepared for a busy day of working on compound bows and crossbows during deer season.
“I tell you what, going back to that thing last night felt good. It shoots as smooth and quiet as ever,” Josh Hawkins told Bob about his compound bow around 10 a.m.
Bob took more time than usual to get Josh his bow back after he brought it to Bob with a squeaky cam and in need of a tune-up. On this particular trip into the store, Hawkins didn’t have any needs. He only wanted to make the trip in to let Bob know how happy he was with how his bow was shooting.
About an hour later, another customer, Troy Hinderliter, came in looking to switch from a compound bow to a crossbow for the rest of deer season. Bob is a lifelong compound bow fan who has never actually hunted with a crossbow. However, he has learned all he needs to know and more from shooting crossbows at bow shoots and in the store’s shooting lane.
After talking with Bob, Troy decided to buy a new crossbow and crossbow case. To those who observed the sale it simply looked like friends discussing the finer points of bow season. As Bob checked him out at the cash register, the two exchanged jokes and asked each other about their families. Troy left the store with a new crossbow and a smile on his face.
“The best part of the job is the interactions with customers. Troy is from about an hour and a half away and I dealt with him for the first time about 10 years ago after he went to another store and they wouldn’t really even look at him because he had no shirt on and overalls. He came here and we helped him out. He has been a loyal customer ever since,” Bob explained when asked about his favorite part of the job.
On a normal workday around deer season, Bob bounces around between helping customers in the store and working on bows in the workshop. His work on bows is frustrating at times because there is no limit to what a customer may put their bow through.
“I try to get people their bows back quickly, but there is only so many I can get to in a day,” said Bob.
There are only three full-time employees at The Great Outdoors, so Bob’s got more obligations than just bows. On busy days amidst the gun portion of deer season it isn’t uncommon to have the store full of people, none of which for bow-related reasons. In times like this he may be manning the cash register, pointing people toward the ammunition, or behind the gun counter sighting in guns.
Bob Meadows is a staple of The Great Outdoors. Whatever the work may be Bob utilizes a philosophy on the job that emphasizes people. This along with his personality make for an enjoyable experience in the store that has a track record of bringing customers back to the store, and often times back to Bob himself.
Whether he is making arrows, working the register, at the bow press, or wherever Bob is he makes it a priority to get his task done. But more importantly to him, also he makes it a priority to enjoy himself. He is generally not at the door welcoming customers with this attitude. This practice is common at other stores, but at The Great Outdoors, the welcoming comes in the interactions themselves.