Barefoot Archery has been a Charlotte staple since 1966. Current owner and manager Jessie Smith purchased the business in 1995 and has been operating the full-service pro shop ever since.
“You can buy a bow anyplace,” says Smith, “but we take care of our customer from beginning to end. We’re a full-service center. If you have anything you need done to your bows, we work on them. We build arrows. And we just generally promote archery.”
In addition to the pro shop, Barefoot Archery has an eight-lane, USA Archery approved range. Customers can reserve lanes, rent equipment, and even host parties and events at the range. The members of the staff at Barefoot Archery are hunters with many years of experience and are always on hand to assist.
Barefoot Archery provides a variety of classes for all skill levels, individual and groups. Many families and youth organizations have benefited from the services, ensuring to teach new generations the sport. “We’ve probably taught thousands of children to shoot over the past 25 years,” says Smith.
Native American Influence
The shirt’s design has several Native American influences. There is traditional iconography like the whitetail deer skull and antlers, flint arrowheads, and the bows and arrows native to the Lumbee Tribe of Native Americans, of which Smith is a member. The Lumbee Tribe is the largest in North Carolina, the largest tribe east of the Mississippi River, and the ninth largest in the nation.
Smith has been involved with bow hunting his whole life. “I’ve been bow hunting since I was a little kid,” he recalls. “During college [before working at Barefoot] I was selling bows on the side,” says Smith, whose family is part of the Lumbee Tribe of Native Americans.
“I’ve always stayed involved in archery,” says Smith. “I won three state championships. I reckon it kept me more excited about [archery] because I was shooting even when I wasn’t working here. It was a hobby then. Now I turned my hobby into my livelihood.”
“They’re a nice souvenir!”
Barefoot Archery benefits from having t-shirts available for many curious tourists who travel through his shop, Smith states. “We’re a transit city here in Charlotte,” he explains.
“A lot of guys come in, and if you’re involved in archery and come to Charlotte, most people look for an archery shop. That’s what I do when I’m out traveling,” says Smith. “And they look good at the local shoots, too. I have shooters out there wearing them. I just like to keep my name out there.”
“It’s a good item for tourists,” explains Smith. “You got a Charlotte, NC archery shirt. That’s something unique when you go back home and go to your local range.”