10:50 min June 03, 2024

Dunkelberger's Sports Outfitter in Stroudsburg, PA

Head to Dunkelberger's Sports Outfitter for a candid conversation with the owner, Jere, about his beloved small business and everything the Poconos has to offer outdoors lovers at this time of year!

Chris Barrett: How long have you been in business?

Jere Dunkelberger: 52 years, in a couple weeks. We are in downtown Stroudsburg, then of course have our newer location in Brodheadsville, which is actually 12 years old. 

Chris: Do you mind telling us about how you got started?

Jere: I was young at the time – new family, the whole bit, and I had the opportunity through a friend of mine. He had to leave the business and offered it to me, so I took a chance. Interestingly, it was a very cold day in February, February 18 to be exact, 1972. By the end of that day, I rung out the cash register and the total sales for that day were $4.75. I went home that night, looked in the mirror, and said, “Jere, what have you done? How are you going to survive doing this amount of business?” But things went along and progressed, there was no plan at that time, and here I am today.

Chris: So, five decades. You must’ve seen so much change in the Poconos. What have you seen? What struck you the most?

Jere: Obviously, we’ve had a huge influx of second-home people, that’s been big. It’s been an important part of the business as well because it has brought new clients, new personnel. We’ve become a real destination for summer and winter as far as water parks and skiing, and that’s been a big change that has evolved over the years.

Chris: If one of our guests who are watching wants to do something outdoors, you can outfit them from head-to-toe here?

Jere: Oh, yeah. And that’s one of the unique things that I pride myself on with Dunkelberger's Sports Outfitter. You can come in as a beginner, and say maybe you’re interested in fishing. I would say “hey, this is what you need to get started, this is how you do it, and this is where you should go.”

Chris: Do you see generations of families who come in?

Jere: We do. We see the little guys, and they grow up and become fathers, and then their kids come in. Oh, yeah, we’ve had many generations over the years.

Chris: That must be really satisfying for you.

Jere: Very much so. Particularly the young people joining the sport, whether it be fishing, hunting, whatever they may do, but it’s nice to see the father or the mother bring the young guys in, or the girls and the ladies, and continue in the sport. 52 years this year in business and it’s just been wonderful. It doesn’t seem like 52. It seems like just yesterday, and it’s just been a great ride, and I’m going to continue riding it!

Chris: You mentioned fishing, so I wanted to ask you: what is fishing like in the Poconos? I’ve heard we have some of the best freshwater fishing in the United States.

Jere: There’s no question. Particularly, and it's world known, is the Brodhead Creek. It is just a wonderful trout fishery. We also have wonderful lakes. The Delaware River gets a fabulous shad run in the spring which draws a lot of people. The fishing here in the Poconos is tremendous. Plus, one thing I want to emphasize is the vast amount of state game lands that are open to the public to hike, hunt, and fish.

Chris: What do you think is the best hunting here in the Poconos?

Jere: The white tail is the big thing for the Poconos. We have turkeys, black bears, and I can go on. One interesting thing about the black bear in the Poconos, which is, I think, very little known, is there are more black bear per square mile in our Pocono area than any place in the world. Per square mile because of our habitat, our swamps, our state game lands. It’s a natural habitat for these animals, we have a substantial population, and they won’t hurt you either.

Chris: It’s good to observe them, but not interact with them?

Jere: The white tail is prolific in our area. We have a lot. You’re going to see turkeys, maybe the occasional bear. There’s fox and coyotes. Most of these are illusive, they’re night creatures, and you could possibly see them during the day, but it’s somewhat of a rare occasion.

Chris: What’s your favorite outdoor thing to do and why?

Jere: I obviously grew up as a hunter and fisherman. Today, I’m a little more of a fisherman than a hunter.

Chris: Final question because I’m sure we could talk all day, which would be great. Why downtown Stroudsburg? After 52 years here, you’re very committed to it. Why do you think?

Jere: Well, obviously this is where I started. Downtown Stroudsburg has been home. It’s great, the people are wonderful, and we’ve created a destination here. People come to us for what we have and what we do. I have no reason to go anywhere else other than right here. This is our flagship store, although as I did say we also have our location in Brodheadsville, but Stroudsburg is home.