Southern Reel Outfitters and Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports announce merger

Local Sports

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Southern Reel Outfitters of Little Rock ( today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to merge with Trader Bills Outdoor Sports of Hot Springs ( The two companies join together under the name Innovative Outdoor Management, LLC.

Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports was established in 1983 by local business owner, Bill Elliott and acquired by Mandy and Reji Short in 2000. They are partnering with Southern Reel Outfitters, created in 2014 and owned by local business owner, Rodney Thomason. Together, the two businesses bring unparalleled industry experience and expertise to deliver one of the largest outdoor sports dealers in Arkansas. “We are pleased to combine our strengths to meet the demand of the marketplace. Arkansans deserve the same options and competitive pricing as big-box stores, but with the added trust and expertise of a locally owned store run by a team of industry leaders. Both our locations are staffed with professional fishermen with over 100 years of combined experience. We also boast the only Master Yamaha Tech in Arkansas,” says Mandy Short, Owner & CEO.

The newly combined companies are well positioned to deliver unique value to customers. In addition to the two current locations, which will keep their existing names, Innovative Outdoor Management plans to open a third location in Little Rock under the name of Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports. The new location will be a combination of each business’ unique strengths, and will include a boat dealership as well as an expanded offering of sports and outdoor equipment and clothing. This location will be in Little Rock near the intersection of I-30 and Otter Creek, and is expected to open in Summer of 2021.

Both companies are deeply embedded in their communities. They will continue their commitment to supporting local organizations through board memberships, financial contributions, and volunteerism. A sampling of the many organizations that benefit from their service are; CARTI, Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation, Lake Maumelle Bass League, Arkansas State Parks, Relay for Life, and various high school fishing programs across the state.

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