homepage logo

New bait shop opens

By Staff | Aug 10, 2009

Timothy Glanzman in front of his new bait shop.

Editor’s Note; This is the second part of a three part series on new businesses located in the former L and M Motors building. Next week’s story will feature Rick Lawrence and ‘Fine Line Frame.’

Timothy Glanzman has taken a rather long and winding road before opening ‘The Bait Shop’ on North Main.

Prior to starting ‘Minnesota Wholesale Bait’ business out of his home and renting the former Nelson Realty building for ‘The Bait Shop,’ Glanzman was a “wanna-be chef.”

“I cooked at Hamilton’s and the Country Kitchen when I was 16 to 19 years of age,” says Glanzman who had his sights set on becoming a chef at the young age of 16.

Hoping to reap some of the educational benefits promised to veterans under the G. I. Bill, Glanzman enlisted in the Army where he was told he would be part of the Army Culinary Arts Team.

“But I guess war is a little more important. So, once I got out of Basic Training I went to AIT or Advanced Individual Training. Two months later, I was stationed in Balad, Iraq serving as a tower guard with Entry Control Point Security (ECP) for the next 12 months,” he explains.

After four years in the Army, Glanzman, age 24, found himself without a degree in culinary arts and recognized he needed a change in his career path.

“So I switched from food to bait,” summarizes Glanzman.

“I have always enjoyed fishing and fish all the time. But I always had to drive out of town to get bait,” explains Glanzman. Because of this, he literally stumbled into starting a bait business in Blue Earth.

After doing some research, he says Greg Oswald of Geneva took him under his wing. Oswald has fisheries throughout the U.S. He also is one of the top sport fish producers in the world.

“Greg Oswald is my mentor,” says Glanzman. “He started out the same way I did – with one tank. Now he is known worldwide. If it weren’t for Oswald, I wouldn’t be in the business.”

Glanzman’s original plan was to remodel his garage and run a bait shop from the site. But that didn’t work out, so he ran his ‘Minnesota Wholesale Bait’ operation from his home instead.

“I wanted to open a business that didn’t require a lot of start-up money,” he explains. The bait business meets this criteria.

But with all business ventures there are risks.

“The trickiest part is finding the delicate balance between the water temperature, oxygen levels and filtration to keep minnows healthy and lively,” admits Glanzman as he explains the process. “The water has to be treated, run through a reverse osmosis process and be maintained by a constant filtration system.”

Glanzman tries to maintain his water temperature between 50-52 degrees at all times. He says the cooler the water is the less air the bait needs However, he can’t keep it too cold as the bait would be too sluggish or die once it was taken out of the water.

“People want quality bait. I hope to win customers by carrying a good quality of bait for them,” says Glanzman. He currently has in stock crappie minnows, fat head minnows, creek chubs, suckers, nightcrawlers and leeches. One of his specialties is the chartreuse nightcrawler he claims is terrific for catching Walleyes. These nightcrawlers are dyed through a process using a specific powder feed. They are then placed in special bedding. At the end of the process, which generally takes about a week, they literally turn green from the inside out, almost glowing he says. He says his stock will change in the winter for the ice fishing season. It will definitely include grubs.

He eventually hopes to have a bait and tackle shop for the river fishermen based here. In addition to the ‘Bait Shop,’ he would like to build a pond and raise game fish or whatever is in demand. Glanzman also dreams of having some basic hunting supplies and gear in his store by fall. He also is working on acquiring the right to sell Big Game Registration and Fishing Licenses. He says one has to get permits through the DNR, so it all takes time and a lot of paperwork.

Fishermen seeking bait can find Glanzman at his shop generally from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. He has heard from friends there have been people outside his store as early as 5:30 a.m. As a result, he is reconsidering his hours.

When not at the shop, he says he has spent many a night scrubbing buckets or acquiring stock from fisheries. Before he moved to main street, his work was even more labor intensive. For several months, he was literally hauling up to 22 five-gallon pails of river water to fill his 55-gallon drums on a daily basis.

He currently has thousands of minnows in stock. At 3,000 minnows per gallon, he usually has in stock 10-20 gallons at all times.

“I will meet or beat the price of anyone else,” says Glanzman. He concedes the bookkeeping is tricky though because of the fluctuating prices. Even though his business got off to a rather slow start, he says his customer base has really increased since he’s been on main street.

His long-term goal is to take college courses online to study wildlife biology or fisheries with the dream of starting his own fishery in Blue Earth. Presently, there are only two located in the state.

Currently, the young entrepreneur is taking one day at a time. Sometimes, he admits, it is one hour at a time.

“I love to fish and now I get to talk with fishermen all day,” says a grinning Glanzman. “I’m learning as I go. I learn something new everyday.”

As Jim Fellows says, “It’s nice to have a bait shop in town.”