Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Tall Tales Tackle

Bait and tackle shops are preparing for the busy summer season.

Chief photojournalist Corey Adkins found one shop that’s doing a whole lot more than helping you lure fish for tonight’s Sightseeing in Northern Michigan.

“We do have all kinds of disabilities, but it does not mean it stops us. It means we can work and believe ourselves that we have opportunities to work here,” says Tall Tales Tackle worker Draven.

Tall Tales Tackle, in the old science lab at the former Charlevoix Middle School, helps a group of special education students do a lot more than learn. They are achieving.

“Our main goal is to be a fully functional bait shop, and it’s important to come in and give these students the opportunity to practice their employment skills,” says Courtney Kretovic, special education teacher. 

Worker Shayn explains, “We greet them and ask what they’re here for.”

Draven adds, “Whatever is new, we work on and come up with new words like professionalism, enthusiasm, motivation, all kinds of stuff.”

An opportunity for independence for some who might not get that opportunity otherwise.

“Because it helps me prepare for like in the real life, if I got another job it gives me experience and what it’s like to have a job,” says Shayn. “Because then I don’t always have to rely on my parents to take care of me, and just live on my own and support myself.”

Courtney explains, “We found that the students learn best by doing. They’re here and getting to interact with customers. They’re learning how to enhance their social skills and they’re just doing, which is awesome.”

The students also learn what it’s like to save money, just ask Charlie who’s saving his for a trip.

Charlie said he does really well. He’s a good helper. He’s earning his money and he’s saving his dollars for Space Mountain, and he said he likes to wash the tables.

Tall Tales Tackle is open Wednesday through Saturday and, along with lures and minnows, you’ll find art.

And every Friday, all 14 employees get together for a meal that they earned.

“It’s what happens in every store. They want it to look straight and professional so that way it will look nice and stuff, and get some good reviews and good response, and say ‘wow, they’re really great and I recognize that guy. I would hire that guy. Really great, really good job’,” says Draven.

Shayn adds, “And one thing I also learned is the customer is always right, no matter if you think their wrong, they’re always right.”

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus