DIAS CREEK, N.J. - There's that moment when you walk into Fletchers Corner, and you begin to take in all the archery gear - the crossbows, camouflage clothes, a bunch of he-man-looking stuff that you have no idea what it's for - when your eyes drift, and you notice the mannequins in formal attire. You do a double take.
In one of those never-in-a-million-years, beauty-and-the-beast, bait-and-tackle-and-French-pastry-shop kind of odd pairings, this archery store and practice range - tucked along a stretch of Delsea Drive (Route 47) about 10 miles north of Cape May - specializes in bows and arrows and tuxedo rentals.
"Yes, it does seem a little strange, I guess," concedes Sally Kanas, 54, who with her husband, Guy, has operated Fletchers Corner for about 20 years.
They specialize in "everything for the serious archer or hunter," she said.
"We really try to work with everyone who comes in, whether they just have an interest in learning how to use a bow and arrow or they are a hunter," said Guy Kanas, 62, who worked previously as a tugboat captain before opening his archery business.
The centerpiece of the operation may be its fully equipped indoor range, where you can rent equipment and learn to shoot a bow and arrow. Purchasing, instead of renting, a bow and arrow can cost about $350 to as much as $3,000.
The range also hosts adult tournaments throughout the year and a children's summer archery camp for ages 6 to 16. But children as young as 4, accompanied by a parent, can come to the range to learn how to use a bow and arrow, the Kanases said.
The range also hosts birthday parties, scout groups, and other gatherings.
The couple added the tuxes about four years ago after the death of Guy's father, who operated a trading-post-type store in nearby Villas and rented formal wear along with selling surplus Army-Navy gear.
"I used to help him out with the tuxedo rental, and I just enjoyed it so much . . . seeing the faces on the young men when they come in to get their tuxedo rentals for prom and see themselves in the mirror dressed in formal wear for the first time. That's priceless," said Sally Kanas. "So we brought it over here. . . ."
They now sell everything from sloshy hunting boots and woodsy coats to pink camo pajamas for girls.
But it's still pretty much a man's world. A corner of the showroom has been dedicated to the tux rentals, where the cleanly tailored formal samples hang neatly on the racks. Sally Kanas takes the fittings and then orders the rentals for her customers to be delivered to the shop for weddings, cruises, proms, and other special occasions. She rents about 200 tuxedos a year from the small space for $59 to $150.
"I understand the economy of the area is so seasonal as far as employment, and I really try to give the kids a break when they come in here for a rental," Sally Kanas said. "Times are tough around here."
Among designer labels like Michael Kors and Allure Men, one of the most popular styles features olive-green camouflage lapels and vest. That one rents for $124.
There is also a tuxedo in full camouflage - for $150.
"We've had full-camo weddings, yes," Sally Kanas said. "We really try to cater to what the customer wants. It's a slower pace down here, sometimes a little bit behind some of the trends. But we are happy to help people decide what they would like for their special events.
"Even hunters want to look nice for a special day."