Like the saying goes “all good things must end”, so comes true to one of Greenwood’s well established businesses. After thirty-four years the owners of Sportsman’s Friend Inc., William H. (Billy) and Martha Hoole officially announce their plans to close the business.
Over the next couple of weeks, Sportsman’s Friend will focus on a final “End of Business Sale” with lots of outdoors items with reduced prices.
Owner “Billy” Hoole spoke with GwdToday regarding the business closing. Hoole explained how they thoroughly enjoyed running Sportsman’s Friend over the years. They’re very thankful to their customer’s support over the years and all the friendships that develop through it all.
Hoole and his wife Martha settled in Greenwood after they finished college and got married. Billy began a lifelong career at the Greenwood Vocational School (now The Frank G. Russell Career Center) teaching electrical course. This career lasted 28 years until retirement.
In March of 1979 the Hoole’s decided to open Sportsman’s Friend mainly from Hoole’s love of the outdoors and his entrepreneurial spirit. Today the store is on its third location after opening. Most of this era only know the current and remember the second location which was at the corner of Hwy 72 Bypass and E. Laurel Road.
GwdToday’s owner Patrick Moore remembers the first time he met Mr. Hoole when he was a student in Mr. Hoole’s electrical class. “I actually remember times when Mr. Hoole would take us to his new store being constructed. We would help do some of the wiring there. Mr. Hoole was a great teacher, not only for the subject but also he was a patient, caring teacher that made a lifelong impression on many of us” explained Moore. “Today we are now neighbors and I still call him Mr. Hoole, (laughing). I guess I am still a student of his in a way”.
For many years now Hoole has successfully ran a great business and brought in many seminars geared toward helping folks with hunting and fishing. In 2010, Hoole was honored as he was chosen as 2010 Small Business Person of the Year.
Hoole is also an active community member. As an Eagle Scout, Hoole has continued to give back to the youth as a Scout Master at Main Street United Methodist Church. Hoole has also dedicated many years supporting the National Wild Turkey Federation specifically overseeing the firearms and background checks from their local banquets.
Hoole’s love of fishing has lasted a lifetime. Over the years Hoole has been featured many times in local newspapers and outdoor publications giving advice and tips. He is also a member of the South Carolina Wildlife and Fish Advisory Board.
Another passion he inherited from his parent was helping others. Hoole’s mother taught handicapped children and it was through her passion that led Hoole to organize the Bowers-Rodgers Bass Tournament. This tournament is a stapled event held annually during the Festival of Flowers and to Hoole, one of his greatest accomplishments.
Yes, Hoole has accomplished much and has taught so many people in some way or another. Yet Hoole remains completely humbled to it all. If you ask anyone close to him, they will say although the store may be coming to the end, Hoole’s passion for the outdoors and helping people will continue.
The Hooles’ are looking forward to spending more time with their family, especially the grandchildren and friends.
Over the next couple of weeks, efforts at Sportsman’s Friend will focus on final sales and as always Hoole will be around doing what he can to help. So if you get a chance, please drop by Sportsman’s Friend to see their final sale specials and be sure to ask if the Hooles’ are around to say farewell and wish them well as they enter another chapter in life.
Sportsman’s Friend is located at 1636 Bypass 72 NE in Greenwood SC.