Johnny Morris founded Bass Pro Shops in 1971 inside of a Springfield, Missouri liquor store that was owned by his father. The company began producing mail order catalogs in 1974 and boats in 1978. Bass Pro Shops has since grown into the leading outdoor recreation products retailer in America with stores across the United States and Canada, as of 2015.
Unhappy with the availability of fishing lures and equipment in the Ozarks, Johnny Morris journeyed across America gathering products in a U-Haul trailer to stock his first store. Located along the main access to Table Rock Lake in southern Missouri, the store quickly grew. His expansion into the catalog and mail order business fueled the store's growth.
When he began the production of Bass Tracker boats, it was driven by the concept of providing savings to Bass Pro Shops customers by allowing them to buy boats directly from the manufacturer. The company has been the number one seller of fishing boats in America for over 35 years.
The company further expanded its base by building large stores that sold fishing, hunting, camping and many other recreational products in simulated outdoor environments. Each store is designed to be as much a tourist attraction as a retail outlet with huge aquariums, indoor rivers and lakes, theme restaurants and hotels filled with fish and wildlife, both alive and stuffed.