Champion Sport and Bait: Serving the needs of western Marquette Co.

CHAMPION – Filling a real need in the western Marquette County area: That is the goal of Champion Sport and Bait.

It has been open less than one month, but already has captured the attention of people driving past the storefront, which is located along U.S. 41 in Champion.

In fact, the building that has been converted to Champion Sport and Bait was formerly a grocery store.

“We have had people still come in looking for groceries,” said a smiling Amanda Swartz, manager of Champion Sport and Bait.

The new store might not carry groceries, but it is well stocked with many other things designed for fishing, camping and RVing, plus boat parts and outdoors accessories of all kinds. “Anything in that realm, we have. And if we don’t have it, we most likely can order it.”

“And of course we have bait, crawlers, leeches, minnows,” Swartz said.

Champion Sport and Bait is owned by Bernie Senske, who also owns and operates Bernie’s Auto and Marine, just a little bit west of the sport shop.

Manager Swartz said for those living in the western part of the county and for those going to have fun in that area, the new shop is a welcome addition to the community.

“Before they would have to run to Ishpeming or all the way to Marquette,” she said. “This area is a real sporting area so this is something that was needed.”

Senske said as the owner of an established business in the Champion community, he has faith the new enterprise will do well.

“It’s a great community,” Senske said. “There are a lot of people who visit out here, too, who will find Champion Sport and Bait fills a need for them.”

The shop is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Even though it hasn’t been open for long, it is working to build its inventory.

“Slowly but surely, we’re getting things in,” Swartz said. “Eventually we want to get products for winter sports. We want to have a full sports line for hunting and for fishing.”

Soon to be added is a plasma cutter, which will allow Champion Sport and Bait to make metal custom signs for customers. And another special service is in the works.

“We also will soon do repairs for Bimini tops and awning tops,” Swartz said. “Dave Senske (Bernie’s brother) will have a big sewing machine that we will be using for that.”

Champion Sport and Bait is a licensed minnow dealer.

“We’re working on getting hunting and fishing licenses,” she said.

And of course, for those heading out to camp, the store carries ice as well.

Champion Sport and Bait will feature reasonable prices for all it carries, Swartz said.

“With so many camps and so many campgrounds out this way, we will be a year-round business,” she added.

Champion Sport and Bait can be reached at 906-339-4114. It has a Facebook page as well. You can find it at or by searching for Champion Sport & Bait.

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