Costco & Sage

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Nathan B, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. Porter Active Member

    Posts: 6,474
    Kenmore, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +533 / 0
    Previously they had. See link earlier posted. I'm sure its the same type of thing, sage has little to benefit and more to lose from this.
  2. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,806
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +698 / 5
    Yup, everyone I know who has had product go through Costco has regretted it. All never renewed once the contract expired.

    Onto Costco, they didn't have it at the South Hill location today.
  3. Eric Denny It's summer time I'm fishing!!

    Posts: 664
    Spokane, WA.
    Ratings: +112 / 0
    They don't have it in Spokane at all I called and looked after I was at the valley.
  4. jessejames Flyslinger

    Posts: 1,869
    Show Low, Arizona
    Ratings: +353 / 3
    While you are at Costco buying your new Sage rod, ask them to upgrade the line and spool an extra 50' of backing on it. While your at it ask them to show you how to tie that blood knot again. And maybe find out what the local hatch is and pick up a few flies.
    Oh sorry this is Costco not a local fly shop. Instead pick up a half gallon of Jack Daniels and go fish.
    jesse
  5. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,806
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +698 / 5
    They'd tell you the fish are over in the meat section. ;) Cash matches the hatch in that department. ;)
    dfl, aplTyler, Porter and 1 other person like this.
  6. bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

    Posts: 2,359
    m-ville
    Ratings: +737 / 0
    Say what you want,Cosco will sell everyone of those rods. Most people talk a good story about supporting the local guy but will buy online for $3.oo less and brag about the savings . There are many failed small shops to prove this the reality of the times..
    Kent Lufkin, flyfishingeric1 and GAT like this.
  7. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,941
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +675 / 0
    One of my best friends owned a fly shop - The Skagit Angler - he closed it down 7-9 years ago. What he noticed before he closed it was that the new flyfisher wasn't showing up. This speaks directly to future customers and that future was bleak. That combined with internet bargains, and the urge to not be a shopkeeper anymore was the end of his shop.
  8. bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

    Posts: 2,359
    m-ville
    Ratings: +737 / 0
    I'm still paying off credit cards that I used to buy stuff in that store!!!
  9. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,138
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,228 / 0
    Costco's success is based in part on a reliance on high velocity merchandise turnover. They have a limited amount of shelf space and if merchandise doesn't sell quickly, they won't waste that space buying it again. If it takes them six months to sell out of these Sage rods because the price point is too high for a non-enthusiast and the market is too narrow, they're sure as hell not going to turn around and bring in even more expensive gear that appeals to an even smaller number of prospective buyers and takes longer to sell.

    I'm frankly surprised at how many folks knock Costco because they don't offer the same service as a small specialty fly shop. What, Costco doesn't offer fishing advice? Who cares?

    When I go into a fly shop, I already know what I want to buy. I didn't go there to find out which weight of tippet I should use or hear the guy behind the counter breathlessly whisper the same regurgitated 'secret' spots that are 'fishing great' this week that he also told the guy who came in before me. Really.

    Costco already knows people don't go there to find a new recipe for deviled eggs made from that gallon of mayonnaise or which pan to use to make a Bearnaise sauce with the four pounds of butter they just put in their cart. Just like they know that the folks who buy those Sage rods didn't come to Costco to find out what a double haul is or how to tie an improved clinch knot.

    Now that I'm spun up, if it's the 'service' that local fly shops provide that is so valuable, then why have so many of them closed? Hint: Since Al Gore invented the Internet and Dubya cratered the economy, it's all about price. If that same Sage outfit is even just $10.00 cheaper online or at Costco, that's where an increasingly larger number of folks will choose to buy it.

    And hold the service, thank you.

    K
  10. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,993
    Ratings: +1,292 / 4
    With Google, and more to the point, WFF, are there really still people out there who drive to a fly shop to learn how to tie a knot?
    PT, Kent Lufkin and tythetier like this.
  11. tythetier Fish Slayer

    Posts: 1,535
    WASHOUGAL, WA
    Ratings: +40 / 0
    I agree with Kent! Never got that great of service from the local shop anyways.... Always pressure to buy more expensive crap than what I need.
    If I can find a Sage rod for the price I am going to pay for a lower end rod, you bet your sweet freckled ass I am going to go with the Sage rod.
    You can go on the internet to find out how to tie knots and find the 'hot spot' to fish... No need to talk to some guy that looks down his nose at you cause you arent spending $985 on a new reel...
    PT likes this.
  12. dflett68 Active Member

    Posts: 601
    snohomish
    Ratings: +197 / 0
    i sympathize with the shop owners as human beings but as business people they just have to know their market, compete, adapt, or perish. costco does not compete with boutique shops. it's an assortment of one (1) sku, come on. if you suggest that expert knowledge is what you have to offer versus a much higher price against the competition, you have failed to realize what century/decade you are competing in.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  13. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,244
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,709 / 0
  14. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,138
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,228 / 0
    Couldn't agree more. Sadly though, each shop agrees to abide by the manufacturer's MAP (minimum advertised price) guidelines or risk having that manufacturer's line pulled. In essence they become captives of the very goods they hope to sell.

    You made an earlier point about warranty obligations that I forgot to comment when I got distracted by my rant on service.

    Our little business recently had an opportunity to test selling our goods through LL Bean via a 3x3' floor display space in their flagship store in Portland ME. If velocity warranted they would expand our line to their catalog and web site.

    While LLB cultivates a wholesome image among its customers, in practice they're as predatory as any other large retailer (and don't even get me started on Williams-Sonoma!) Beside their instance on a minimum 65% margin on even the smallest order quantities, the bigger sticking point was that one of their conditions of becoming a LL Bean supplier, we would have been obligated to honor the company's lifetime warranty. And they meant THEIR lifetime, not ours.

    We would have had to agree in writing that LL Bean could either deduct the cost of returns (for ANY reason) from future payables OR that we would pay cost of same at ANY point in the future. I could be long dead and the business closed for decades after the last time we sold a product to LL Bean and they could send my heirs a bill for a warranty return per an agreement with them that runs in perpetuity.

    So thanks but no thanks LL Bean. We'd just as soon not sell to customers who pre-stack the deck to insure winning in a zero-sum game.

    K
  15. dflett68 Active Member

    Posts: 601
    snohomish
    Ratings: +197 / 0
    if the manufacturer violates its own map, i'd be surprised if there isn't more to the story that hasn't been told yet. or is the suggestion here that sage is really that nasty to their sellers? i doubt it. but if they are - it's time to get tough and do business. i, for one, would not buy a rod from a company that i knew made MAP a one way street which made it impossible for it's sellers to compete and be profitable. i'd be VERY curious to know what percentage of revenue and margin sage products represent to the average local shop. if the shops feel they are held prisoner and have no choice but to do business with a manufacturer who doesn't act honorably, it's time to get out.
  16. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,138
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,228 / 0
    dflett, my comments weren't intended to offer any insights into Sage's practices, only an oblique reference to the notion that there is indeed a cost to providing someone with a lifetime warranty. While folks here all regard a lifetime warranty as a sort of insurance policy against thoughtless mistakes involving car doors or trunk lids, the simple truth is that someone has to pay for that replacement section or new rod, which is certainly baked into the cost of all new rods.

    A local business called Stupid Prices made quite a bit of money over the years by buying warranty returns from Costco and then cleaning them up and making any minor repairs before reselling them in their own stores. Such a deal, Costco gets reimbursed by the original manufacturer, doesn't spend a dime to return the 'defective' products, and Stupid Price pays them to take the goods away. WIn, win, win.

    K
  17. dflett68 Active Member

    Posts: 601
    snohomish
    Ratings: +197 / 0
    understood Kent. i was focused only on your comment about MAP, which got referenced several times earlier in the thread as well. i'm skeptical that this story is as simple as sage holding small dealers to map, and then letting costco undercut it and demanding that small dealers compete across that gap. i just think there's probably more to it.
  18. Lugan Joe Streamer

    Posts: 2,400
    Beautiful View, WA
    Ratings: +774 / 2
    Kent, back to a few posts ago where you stated that you don't need advice from guys hanging out behind the counter (clear reference to the Bellevue K'man I'm guessing), I'm sure that's true for you since you've been at this sport since 1875 or so. But remember that others do need all kinds of advice. I have two friends now who are intermediate fishers and they go to Creekside an Orvis all the time for the service.
    Richard Olmstead and Kent Lufkin like this.
  19. dflett68 Active Member

    Posts: 601
    snohomish
    Ratings: +197 / 0
    definitely. but to suggest costco is somehow leaving the consumer in the lurch because they do not offer expert advice and on the spot tutelage for every seasonal item they ever carry - especially when we're talking about 1 item out of their entire assortment - that's a red herring. people know what they are getting at costco, it is what it is and it does not compete directly with a fly shop. if sage is mandating an anti-competitive pricing structure to it's dealers on one item, that's wrong and there is probably a reasonable recourse for the dealers if they are willing to fight the battle. but blaming costco (or the internet, or wal-mart, et. al.) for how difficult it is, in general, to succeed in small business, is sour grapes imo. yes they are elements of the competitive landscape, but if you don't want competition then work where there is no competition - say, the government or boeing. 9.5 out of 10 small businesses fail cause its difficult and most people think it's going to be a hell of a lot easier than it is. by the time they figure out how hard it is, they are out of financing. it truly is sad in every case but it's the law of the jungle (capitalism) and it isn't the fault of the people who figure out how to succeed at it.
    Cruik and Kent Lufkin like this.
  20. Porter Active Member

    Posts: 6,474
    Kenmore, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +533 / 0
    Auhtorized dealer have any meaning? If not then the whole thing is a crock/crapshoot....good luck! Does any one see the big pic?....it always impacts the little pic! And most of us are in the little pic. Costco is not an authorized dealer...nor should they be! You want to buy a shakespesare fly rod at walmart?...fine....you want to buy a sage or winston a walmart?...not fine. They degrade the product and the people who can be of service to them...My final say!