It might be hard to believe considering its vast array of products, but Sears, Roebuck and Co. began with one accessory: watches. In 1886, Richard W. Sears bought a box of unwanted watches from a jeweler, thinking he could turn a profit by selling them. He was correct and committed to the watch business by hiring Alvah C. Roebuck, an experienced watchmaker.
As time went on, though, their business expanded its umbrella far beyond what people wore on their wrists. Sears became known as the place to shop for almost any appliance, from sewing machines to those magical boxes that create water from nothing and clean your clothes.
Today, the stores stock clothing, accessories, electronics, kitchen equipment, tools for outdoor living, and home decor. This variety is sustained by Sears's proprietary brands—Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, to name a few—and other national names that populate the shelves.
Mad River Outfitters, in business for almost 20 years, outfits anglers with gear, classic clothing, and products by Orvis, Filson, Barbour, and other leading brands. The shop features flies that replicate natural food sources, as well as personalized advice that each customer needs to become successful anglers in Ohio waters and beyond. In addition to helping customers select proper equipment, Mad River Outfitters hosts classes for beginners and expert anglers alike with topics including Knots & Leaders, Fly Casting, and Specialty Fly Tying—always with instructors who can provide specialized advice, such as how to outsmart the wily trophy fish.
The zipline course at Valley Zipline Tours speeds danglers over the scenic Northern Hocking Hills in spectacular fashion, whisking them along a series of lines that extend to more than 1 mile in total length. First, a friendly guide drives the zippers up to the top of the valley, where they don their safety equipment and then zoom down the first five lines as a warm-up to the following three, known collectively as the Valley Super Lines. Starting at line 6, the journey whips riders across the valley and lake for distances of nearly 1,000 feet each and at more than 100 feet off the ground, reaching speeds of 55 miles per hour. To cap off the high-speed trip, a valley swing awaits at the end of the tour attached to the edge of a tower, inviting participants to jump and swing over the valley while suspended at more than 50 feet.
The Hocking Hills Adventure Trek team is as diverse as the wilderness they explore. Guides include living history performers who educate visitors through songs and stories and naturalists who lead outdoor adventures through the wilderness. While the performers showcase their talents at an outdoor amphitheater, guides lead visitors on year-round nature hikes through little-seen areas of the Hocking State Forest and state nature preserves. The company also leads guided rock-climbing and rappelling trips and guided fishing trips at AEP Recreation lands.
Indian Lake Outfitters is the brainchild of outdoors enthusiast Bryan—known as “the buyer” to his staff—and business expert Brenda—who’s known as “the brains”. But the husband and wife team acknowledge that, as long as their daughter Bostyn— “the boss”—is around, they’ll never really be in charge. Together, they maintain a climate-controlled, indoor archery range and stock the shelves of their store with outdoor electronics, clothing, and gear to fulfill customers’ hunting, fishing, camping, and boating needs. Posters line the walls of the archery range, where customers pull back bowstrings and sling arrows at targets, or attempt to shoot metaphorical arrows of love at their dates. Every third Thursday, Indian Lake Outfitters hosts an archery night for women.
One of the Dayton area's only dedicated fishing instruction, Ohio Fly Fish Guy outfits prospective fishers with all the necessary knowledge and equipment to successfully cast their reels on the open water. Using custom tied flies, reels, rods and equipment, water sportsmen receive the wherewithal to enjoy their relaxing outdoor day. For those who need a little more instruction, Ohio Fly Fish Guy also leads half-day and full day fly-fishing excursions.