What used to be a dining room in the home of Jonathan Brandt and Kristie Keenan is how headquarters for their son’s business.

When 11-year-old Bodhi Brandt and his classmates had their sixth-grade year cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, Bodhi chose to find a new way to keep himself busy.

Keenan, was busy homeschooling and looking after five kids - Bodhi and his brothers Brycin and Barrett and sisters Brooklyn and Natalie. In all the activity, Bodhi Brandt decided he wanted to start a business, selling fishing apparel and some fishing lures.

“I just had a lot of extra time, and I told my mom I wanted to start up a business, and it just went from there,” Bodhi said.

Keenan said West Elementary had a program in school where Bodhi had gained ideas from the presenters.

“They go over marketing and sales and things like that, so he actually knew a lot of this already,” Keenan said. “I’m like, ‘Wait, how did you know this?’ Then he brought up, well, we learned that at school. And I’m like, ‘Thank you West.’ That was a really good thing what West did for the kids.”

The fishing connection was a natural for the business.

“I started fishing when I was 4 years old,” Bodhi said. “I still go fishing a lot. I’ve had a passion for fishing, and I just love fishing.”

Bodhi designs his apparel online to order it from his suppliers.

“I do all the designing,” he said, pointing to his own shirt with a blue body that says Get Hooked by Bodhi Brandt and camouflage sleeves that say Fishing. “On this one, I designed all the sleeves. I didn’t draw the (camouflage) up, but I put it how I wanted it, and I put Fishing on it, and I designed the back and everything. Then we ordered our first batch of these.”

Keenan was skeptical at first, but helped Bodhi out at first, teaching him how to do shipping labels, but she said the process is all his now.

“First he says he wants to open a business,” Keenan said, “and he kept talking about doing shoes, and I’m like, ‘Oh, please not shoes.’ But then he started talking about fishing, and my thoughts were probably like Dick and Jim Cabela’s parents. We probably thought about the same thing, ‘Oh gosh!’”

Beginning his business May 7, there was a fear of the timing of trying to begin a business when many businesses were shut down, and people were losing their jobs. Bodhi raises chickens and sells their eggs, so he used that money to fund his first order of shirts.

“It’s a sink or swim kind of thing, so let’s just see if this works,” Keenan said, “and he sold out of pretty much everything in less than 24 hours of launching his business.”

Now, Bodhi is reinvesting into his business and designing more apparel and adding lures to his selection.

Bodhi has some thoughts about promotions for the business, and even plans to give back to his community.

“(I want to) do a special fishing day for all the special needs in Sidney here at the pond in the (Legion) Park,” he said.

Once Bodhi returns to seventh grade in the fall, the business will become an after school project, but he is determined to make the business work.

Bodhi quotes Genesis 9:3 when he talks about his fishing.

“Everything that lives and moves (will) be food for you,” he said.

To see the products Bodhi has to offer, go to www.brandtperformance.com.


Mark McCarthy is a reporter with the Star-Herald and oversees the Gering Courier as editor. He can be reached at 308-632-9049 or via email at mark.mccarthy@starherald.com.

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