According to Betty Simmons, the Simmons Family has been in business in Bessemer, Alabama since the city’s founding in 1887. PN Simmons began as a co-owner of “Simmons and Buck” Dry Goods and Grocery Store, as well as running a clothing store. In the 1940’s, Ralph and Sam Simmons opened Simmons Pawn Shop on the corner of Second Avenue and 20 th street in the heart of downtown Bessemer. Upon his return from service during World War II, Ralph, with the help of Sam, continued to grow their business. In 1951, Ralph Simmons purchased Sam’s interest in the pawn shop and became the sole owner of the business. Over the next 30 years, Ralph and his wife, Betty, continued to run a thriving business. Ralph, being an avid fisherman and bird hunter, began to sell fishing and hunting supplies along with the other merchandise in the Pawn Shop. In 1972, Ralph turned his passion for the outdoors into the focus of his shop, and the name of the business was officially changed to Simmons Sporting Goods. In 1982, Ralph retired and handed over the reins to his remaining sons, Clay, Barry, and Peter. After Barry’s untimely death in 2006, Clay and Peter continued to run the family business.
Today, Simmons Sporting Goods is still family owned and operated by the third and fourth generations of the family that began with PN Simmons. The same values and customer service that started with Ralph and Betty persist in the family today. Through wars and economic hardship, Simmons Sporting Goods has continued to be a mainstay in Bessemer’s economy. In July of 2010, Simmons Sporting Goods moved into a new 10,000 square foot show room, more than doubling the existing retail floor space and joined the Internet sales market to serve an international customer base of outdoorsmen. The Simmons Family continues to be a viable part of the history and ongoing success of the sporting goods industry, as well as the revitalization of downtown Bessemer. Our employees have over 500 years of combined experience. Simmons Sporting Goods has been outfitting the outdoors since 1945 and today many members of the Simmons family work diligently to continue and pass down Ralph and Betty’s legacy and to serve the community.
Simmons & Buck c. 1887
Simmons Sporting Goods c. 2005
Simmons Sporting Goods Today
Section of the Fishing Area
Part of the Handgun Counter & Long Gun Wall