Isabella Holly, 9, of Middle Township, takes aim at a target at the Fletchers Corner under the supervision of her parents, Chrissy and Bill Holly. The Fletchers Corner is a hunting store on Route 47 in Middle Township that has an indoor archery range and also rents tuxedos.

Michael Miller

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP - Guy Kanas admits the business plan for his store, the Fletchers Corner, might be unorthodox.

Still, Kanas insists his business on Route 47 in the Dias Creek section of Middle Township is the best combination archery center and tuxedo-rental store in South Jersey.

Kanas and his wife, Sally, of Lower Township, run the full-service bow-hunting store and indoor archery range, which also rents out tuxedoes year-round to groomsmen, prom students and black-tie partygoers.

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"You're not the first person to say there's a disparity in the business," he said.

The store acknowledges its split personality with a little tongue-in-cheek marketing. The fitting rooms have deer stands instead of stools. And along with the traditional tuxedo fashions, Fletchers offer a couple of camouflage-patterned tuxedoes - one with leaf-colored lapels and another that is unabashed hunter-green magnificence.

"It may be a bit of a reach," he said.

Sally Kanas works as the store's seamstress, ironing and hemming sleeves and pants legs to get just the right fit for customers.

"And everyone who gets a tuxedo for prom gets a free pass to the shooting range," he said.

Fletchers started renting tuxedoes after Guy Kanas' father, Robert Kanas, died in 2011.

Sally Kanas had worked for 16 years at her father-in-law's store, Tuxedo Junction at the Delaware Bay Trading Post in Lower Township. When it closed, she picked up its tuxedo-rental customers at Fletchers.

The store is especially busy with rentals during the spring prom and summer wedding seasons.

Its archery range is open year round. The center is a full-service hunting store with a variety of compound bows, arrows, practice targets and accessories. The shop even has bottles of fox urine that bow-hunters use to conceal their human scent while on the trail.

"Some people have called the store asking about that to use around their gardens," he said. "It keeps the moles and voles away."

Beginner bows start at $120 but others used by serious shooters cost significantly more and feature counter-weights, sights and high-tech materials designed to make them strong and lightweight. One even comes in snow-white camouflage for winter hunts.

Many of the store's customers are not hunters at all and learn to shoot for fun. The center hosts competitive archery leagues for adults and runs summer camps for children. The couple also rent out the center for birthday parties and scouting groups.

"A lot of girls have gotten into archery since 'The Hunger Games' became big," Sally Kanas said.

Bill and Chrissy Holly, of Middle Township, are regulars at the range, where they practice shooting compound bows.

Their daughter, Isabella, 9, has been shooting for about a year and is already skilled enough with her pink-accented bow to compete in friendly games against her father. They took turns shooting with lethal precision at a target 100 feet away.

Is her inspiration the Celtic princess from "Brave" or maybe the brave Katniss Everdeen from District 12?

"No, I like Daryl from 'The Walking Dead,'" she said.

Technically, he uses a crossbow to kill zombies, but whatever.

"She's the queen of putting her bull's-eyes on Facebook," her mother said.

Archery has exploded in popularity, largely because of its growing presence in pop culture, including "Game of Thrones," "World of Warcraft" and "The Hobbit."

Archery was the talent for Miss Kansas Theresa Vail in last year's Miss America competition in Atlantic City.

"With movies like 'Brave,' people are rekindling their interest in archery as a family activity," said Mike Tyrell, a spokesman for the Archery Shooters Association based in Kennesaw, Ga.

His group hosts competitions that attract thousands of competitors nationally.

"The equipment has advanced to the point where it's a lot less scary and it's a lot more accessible to kids," he said.

The sport has an easy learning curve to shoot well, but a long learning curve to shoot competitively, he said.

"That's a big part of what the kids find attractive about archery. You can have success quickly," he said.

Tyrell said businesses have embraced the trend, offering a wealth of new products and accessories.

"A top pro will be shooting with a piece of equipment that costs more than $4,000," he said. "Then you add binoculars, range-finders, sights and rests and it adds up - like golf."

Contact Michael Miller:


The Fletchers Corner

Location: 212 Route 47 South, Middle Township

Owners: Guy and Sally Kanas, of Lower Township

Started: 2000

Employees: Owner operated

Phone: 609-465-4949

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