• 55°

Fab#039;s store continues to serve Troy

When she was growing up, Shirley Snell did not enjoy her time working for the family business. Now, she spends all her time there.

Snell grew up in the house next to Barron's Bait and Tackle shop along Highway 231. The bait store is now a combination sporting goods store/bait shop and its name – Jab's sporting goods – refers to the founder, Jabbo Barron, who died in 1985. Marianne Gralheer owns the sporting good portion of it and Snell spends most of her time in the front part where the crickets chirp and the unmistakable smell of catfish bait fills the air.

"Daddy had two loves, the bait shop and softball," Snell said as she pointed to a row of trophies. "Sometimes I wish he could see Heather play; he would be proud."

Heather Snell is a member of the Charles Henderson softball team.

Fabbo Barron's widow, Fay Barron, still runs the store as an overseer, but Snell does most of the day-to-day duties of the shop.

"When I was growing up, we made all our inventory here at the house," Snell said. "When I was a kid, I didn't enjoy making worms for a quarter an hour."

Fabbo Barron owned patents on some of the products he sold. He had a special artificial bait called the "honey worm" that had honey mixed in with the plastic.

The molds for the honey worm are now in a safe and only a few honey worms remain. The family does not make the worms any longer.

Snell worked as a tax collection agent for several years until Fay Barron's health came into question.

"I worked there until my mother had a stroke," she said. "Sometimes, you have to do the right thing."

Doing the right thing, in this case, meant moving back to Troy and keeping the family business afloat.

Fay Barron still spends time in the shop, sitting where she has for the past 53 years. She and husband Fabbo began the business as a bait shop with unquestionable customer service, remaining open 24 hours a day.

"We had a bell that people would ring if they needed something," Barron said. "We would get up in the middle of the night and come get whatever they needed. Four hours of sleep a night was good back then."

Snell remembers her father sleeping on the couch so he could hear the bell if it rang.

Barron remembers people coming in for odd reasons.

"Sometimes they wanted a pack of cigarettes or just a bag of ice," she said. "A lot of times it was something they could get somewhere else."