Linda Wright has the date committed to memory.
Ask her when she started at Bass Pro Shops, and the answer comes without a moment’s hesitation: “April 28th, 1976.”
It’s one indication of the level of appreciation and fondness Linda has for her career with the company, which marked its 45th anniversary in 2021.
“I have been very lucky here,” she said, adding with a laugh, “for some reason, they thought I was worth the effort. I think that’s what I appreciate the most. I like my little part of what we do.”
Linda is a Senior Staff Accountant who works out of Base Camp – a far cry from when she started. She came on as an Accounting Clerk when the offices were on South Glenstone in Springfield, Missouri. The offices were attached to the Distribution Center, and in addition to the mail-order options, customers could walk in, fill out an order slip and give it to a clerk.
The clerk would ring a bell, and someone from the Distribution Center would pick the item and fill the order. Often times, it was an all-hands-on-deck situation, such as marquee events like the World Fishing Fair in later years.
“My memories are all of us working together on things,” she said. “That’s what I remember, the special things and the special people who would come to these things. It’s not just fishermen. It’s been Presidents, country singers and celebrities. You were able to see that firsthand, and it made you feel like you were part of something special.”
It’s the culture of supporting each other and all working together that has made her time with the company such a valued part of her life.
“I just can’t emphasize enough about how important it is to have good people to work with,” Linda said. “I’ve been very lucky with that, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been here so long.”
“We’ve always had really good people. There are days when you go in and are expected to do more, but there’s always a reward with that, because you’ve helped create something and helped bring something to the table.”
In recent years, Linda has worked in Fixed Assets, helping with setting up all the equipment and fixtures for the stores.
The daily variety of duties has helped make it feel like more than just a routine job. She said the family friendly feeling always has been present, coming straight from Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris.
“It’s not all about me,” she said. “It’s about the company, the people you work with and the atmosphere you’re in. That’s a big part of it. I think part of that is because Johnny is a family person. He recognizes family and appreciates family. That’s so important when you have someone at the top who cares like that.”
It has helped make the last half-century fly by.
“To me, it doesn’t feel like 45 years,” she said. “There has been so much growth and so much change, and I’ve grown with the company. There’s always something new going on. We’ve been so lucky.
“I’m just not interested in retiring … at least not yet.”