Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bass Pro Shops' founder one of world's richest persons

Collecting new fishing tackle and then carting it in a U-Haul trailer to where the material was sold out of a liquor store jump-started Johnny Morris’ ride to membership in the world’s most exclusive club.

Ranked Number 405 on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, Morris has a net worth of $4.1 billion. Yes, that’s with a “B” and not an “M.”

The 68-year-old Morris is the founder of the ever-expanding Bass Pro Shops’ universe of mail-order and retail sales.

In looking at the impressive list of billionaires, Morris is ahead of such other noteworthy persons as Steven Spielberg (Number 481 at $3.6 billion), Oprah Winfrey (Number 603 at $3 billion), Jimmy Haslan (owner of the Cleveland Browns and Number 663 at $2 billion, and Ted Turner (Number 847 at $2.2 billion).

Morris is also “tied” with land developer and maybe yes/maybe no Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Forbes magazine annually compiles a list of the world’s richest people. There are the obscenely wealthy folks such as Number One Bill Gates – worth $79.2 billion – and Number Three Warren Buffett – worth $72.7 billion to such lowly entries as basketball legend and underwear commercial actor Michael Jordon – Number 1,741 at $1 billion.

Though worth oodles and bundles of big bucks, Morris still carries about him the airs of normalcy, or at least what passes for being normal and worth considerable change.

No longer actually running the day-to-day operations of Bass Pro Shops, Morris likes to say he’s the company’s “CFO.”  But that title doesn’t mean “Chief Financial Officer.” Oh, no; for Morris the three letters stand for “Chief Fishing Officer.”

Bass Pro Shops has 88 store outlets – with two in Ohio – and is looking to add 20 more – including one in Ohio – within the next few years.

In 2013, these stores and the firm’s mail-order business generated $4 billion in sales.

All in all, not bad for an enterprising sport who grew frustrated with the lack of fishing tackle being sold locally and who then came up with a game plan to overcome the problematic obstacle.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


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