March 2024’s FTR Retail Associate Of The Year Nominations

A look at the nominations which appeared in the March edition of Fishing Tackle Retailer magazine.

By now you’ve likely already heard about the FTR Retail Associate of the Year promotion. If not, you can get all the details here, and that is also where you can submit a nomination.

In short, we here at Fishing Tackle Retailer have been throwing around a few ideas on how to get retailers more involved and put a spotlight on some of the unsung heroes of the retail space. If retailers are the driving force behind the fishing tackle industry, then those of you on the front line, the ones who interact on a daily basis with the consumers, are its lifeblood. It’s about time you got your opportunity to shine!

We plan to spotlight a few nominations each month in print and online, and ultimately we’ll be selecting the top retail associate for the year as voted on by a panel of industry representatives. The retail shop will obviously receive some press, but it’s the associate who will really reap the rewards as we will not only put them on a pedestal in print and online, but we are also putting together an awesome prize package for the winner which will include a trip to a future ICAST show in Orlando, Florida. We’ll also do an expanded profile of the winner in Fishing Tackle Retailer along with the final announcement.

So without further delay, here are a few recent nominations which appeared in the March edition of Fishing Tackle Retailer.


Railan Aistrope

Extreme Outdoors
16955 State Highway 13
Branson West, Missouri
extremeoutdoors.us

Duration of nominees employment: 5 Years

What makes the nominee a standout employee; why do you feel that they should be selected as the Retail Associate of the Year? Ray—as she likes to be called—is a very self-motivated person. She started out working as a general employee doing multiple jobs at Extreme Outdoors, and as time went on her passion for the outdoors showed through in everything she did for the business, the customers, and the vendors. She accomplished every task with vigor and pride and quickly took over the management position. She has an outstanding vision for the business and customers, and has converted all sales systems to the most current and efficient platforms including inventory, register, website, point of sale, employees, and off-site sales events. What’s more amazing is that she did this all while completing college and graduated with honors from Dury University in Springfield, MO.

What are some examples of how the nominee has gone above and beyond standard expectations to serve the community beyond the retail outlet? Ray is heavily involved in a national youth fishing program run by Cross Trail Outfitters, and she regularly works the live release boats for companies such as AFTCO around the country at multiple bass fishing events.

How would the retail outlet be different without the nominee? Without Ray’s motivation and leadership we would struggle to reach the high standards and expectations that she has set.

Are there any other comments that youd like us to consider about your nominee? Ray has set a very high standard for our business and our customers.


Matt Hrycyk

FishUSA
6960 West Ridge Rd.
Fairview, PA 16415
FishUSA.com

Duration of nominee’s employment: 11 Years

What makes the nominee a standout employee; why do you feel that they should be selected as the Retail Associate of the Year? Matt Hrycyk has played a significant part in the growth of FishUSA. Working for over nine years as a buyer, Matt worked with vendors such as Rapala, Shimano, Daiwa, and Pradco. To this day, many reps still ask about him and have nothing but wonderful things to say about their time working with him. At the end of 2022, as Matt approached retirement age, he couldn’t see himself ending his time with FishUSA and opted to transition into a part-time role in the FishUSA Pro-Shop where he gets to interact with customers and share his fishing stories and tips. Customers couldn’t be happier to have the chance to pick his brain about his experiences. Not only is Matt passionate about the company he works for, but he is just as passionate about the industry he works in and is still very much in touch with the happenings within the fishing world. When Matt isn’t working in the Pro-Shop, you will find him enjoying the outdoors mushroom hunting, fishing from his boat or marina docks, or out deer hunting. Matt has been working in the fishing industry for over 30 years with experience including owning a local tackle shop and over a decade working as a charter captain. Additionally, he was one of the founding members and served as the President of the Pennsylvania Steelhead Association.

What are some examples of how the nominee has gone above and beyond standard expectations to serve the community beyond the retail outlet? Matt’s drive and dedication relating to his work is unmatched. He’s an individual that does not let challenges slow him down. He always takes the time to explain the details whether it be when training other employees or helping a customer prepare to go fishing. His passion is contagious, and his determination is inspiring.

How would the retail outlet be different without the nominee? Matt’s experience and knowledge has given FishUSA a great advantage when it comes to expanding product lines and working with manufacturers to offer the best possible product to their customers.

Are there any other comments that you’d like us to consider about your nominee? Matt is a great friend to our employees and customers alike. He always takes the time to both assist an individual when needed as well as get to know them personally.


Please visit our dedicated page for complete details and to nominate someone someone you know for the FTR Retail Associate of the Year promotion