How's your Fly Shop doing?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Steelie Mike, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. bitterroot

    bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    If an independantly owned and operated shop is not offering an online business they need to get on the bandwagon! The local shop in my area is doing a booming online business.
     
  2. sroffe

    sroffe Active Member

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    In my discussion over the years with a few fly shop owners, I've gotten the impression that the small stuff we buy, flies, tippets, materials, etc... really don't keep them going. Every little bit helps. It is the sales of high ticket items, rods, reels, and such are needed to keep them afloat.

    As many have said, disposable income low, thus, we don't buy the high end items they need to survive. I don't know what the solution is. Those few in the community who can still afford a new rod and reel can't single handedly keep the local shops afloat either.

    I don't think it means every shop will go under. But, unfortunately I fear that there will be more that need to close the doors. Sad, isn't it?
     
  3. Mike T

    Mike T Active Member

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    Any independent business needs to be investing significant effort in broadening it's customer base, branding itself and remaining relevant to their customers. That's particularly true for a business such as this that is fueled by discretionary spending.

    I'm a small businessman so I make it a point to talk to the business people in my community and those I frequent. Dry cleaners- business is off a lot. Dentist- people are putting off cleanings and slow pays on major dental work. Insurance agent- people cutting back coverages and upping their deductibles to save a few bucks. Car dealer service dept- off a lot. Good inexpensive restaurants- business is up with new faces being seen. Pet groomer- way off. Espresso shops- business off on weekdays, up on weekends.

    Fly shops are slightly different as the discretionary spending that occurs there tends to be higher than elsewhere. I don't worry about my local shops, but I do wonder how they juggle their costs and pull for them every chance I get. What will keep me coming back? Little things. Having product in stock, this is huge! Help with knots. Accurate fishing reports, a board saying that hoppers are big on the Yak right now tells me you just don't get it. Going to bat for me with warranty problems. Finally, simply saying hello and helping me select the most appropriate product for my needs and not selling me the product that you need to get rid of or the corporate office demands you push. That means the world to me. Oh yeah, and fresh coffee on a rainy morning helps lubricate the wallet as well.

    Many thanks to the guys at the shops who've helped make the fly fishing learning curve much less steep and painful. I'm a fan but my pockets are a little smaller these days so please, for my sake and yours, keep trying to make more fans everyday.
     
  4. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    That's undoubtedly true, especially when you consider the actual cost of turning on the lights in a retail store every day and keeping it staffed and stocked. When the flyfishing business was booming in the late 1990s and early 2000s as more people took up our sport, shops could count on a steady stream of newbies, each of whom needed rods, reels, lines, waders, boots, etc. But now that the sport is in decline, so too are the shops that catered to it, especially the latecomers to the boom who may be undercapitalized, have a limited market or reduced capability to adapt.

    Darwin was right: it's the survival of the fittest. Those shops who are the least able to survive a changing environment will be the first to go. The ones who survive will thrive again as the environment inevitably improves.

    But yes, it IS sad.

    K
     
  5. BFK

    BFK Member

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    Why are shops closing? It's because fly fishing is a zero-growth (more likely negative growth) sport and has been for at least the last three years. The economy doesn't help, but it's not the major contributor across the board, nor is the Internet nor big boxes. There aren't that many new fishermen taking it up, and a lot of the folks who entered during the last little upturn have now gone on to more trendy pastimes.
     
  6. Bob Jones

    Bob Jones Still truckless now farther away

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    I had only Kaufmans in Portland most of the time, others would come and go. I never could afford the big names {Simms,Sage, Orvis etc.} so I made or ordered from somewhere when I could. Kaufmans was always a big help and I would talk to them when I made a trip up there . I Told Randall one time that I bought what I could but I had to go where I could get the most for my money and i only bought flies when I needed a sample to tie from or one was to hard for my hands to get done. If it weren't for the bigger catalog odrder places that would save me money I wouldn't have the opportunities to fish that I've had. When my sons were young teens and wanted to learn to fly fish I built 3 rods for our first trip togeather to the Deschutes in Oregon. We used medalist reels and concept fly lines bought on sale at G.I.Joes and had a great time. Couldn't have done that oherwise and that was 35 years ago. I think I got ripped off by the first shop here in Wa. and then found a couple that are pretty good to deal with so I'm doing good now. I can only hope these shops do well because my spending won't keep anybody open. By the way I'm still useing some of the best of the original equipment we had. tight lines! Bob
     
  7. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    That's not entirely true. Last June 20, all of the Puget Sound fly shops put on the Jimmy Green Fly Fishing Fair and Casting Expo. It was aimed at bringing new people into the sport. Ask any of the shops or people who were there and they will tell you that the little park in Monroe was packed with newbies. At one time, two baseball fields were filled with people of all ages taking casting lessons. We all came away feeling very optimistic about the growth of the sport.

    The important marketing lesson to come out of this is that we shops are looking to increase the size of the market by bringing new people into the sport and not simply trading our existing customers (you guys) back and forth.

    Leland.
     
  8. NomDeTrout

    NomDeTrout Fly Guy Eat Pie

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    the problem with marketing the sport of fly fishing is...you have to convince people of these things:

    1. you will inevitably be spending quite a bit of money, as opposed to gear fishing, where you have hundreds and thousands of cheap rods and reels ready to fish at your local Walmart.

    2. you will be putting yourself at a disadvatange when fly fishing. Let's face it, its harder to cast a fly rod then to take a spinning rod and toss powerbait out and play the waiting game. Sure, fly fishing also opens up a lot of opportunities to fish areas where it may be advantageous to have a fly, but then again, alot of newbie anglers don't see the diference between planted trout and wild cutthroat. fish is fish. quantity > quality for alot of newbies.

    So this leaves convincing people who have been gear fishing for awhile or someone who may have a past in fly fishing (such as your father or grandfather was a fly fisherman). Its a tough market, but to see the growth of companies like Orvis goes to show that its possible...but growth comes with expanding your market, as Orvis did years ago with their clothes, accessories, etc.
     
  9. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    Being retired for 7-1/2 years now, the old pension paycheck doesn't get very far each year. The home property tax doesn't go down, the power bill goes up, the health care cost goes up, the car insurance goes up, the cost of groceries has gone up, on and on etc. So, now it's a matter of saving nickels and dimes to upgrade my equipment, and oh how I want a couple more rods and reels! I somehow manage to save some nickels and dimes, but seems it usually pays for the fuel for a few nice trips each year. Since I retired, I think just the health care costs have gone up on the average of probably $60 more per month each year! Do you know how much equipment I could have used that on?!!! It's probably mostly the guys that haven't been fly fishing more than 15 years that purchase more equipment than us older guys, but I'm working on the upgrades! I usually walk out of a fly shop with some kind of purchase tho. (Oh yeah, and SUPPORT good healthcare reform with a public option damnit!!!!)
     
  10. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?


    People who walk into a flyshop and are new have already made the decision to fly fish. The first words out of their mouth is, "I want to get into flyfishing, what do I need?"

    Leland.
     
  11. NomDeTrout

    NomDeTrout Fly Guy Eat Pie

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    Exactly, its the people who haven't made up their minds that are difficult to market to.

    Leland, believe it or not, I asked those same words to you a few months ago :)
    Bought my first flybox along with a number of flies.
     
  12. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    Reaching out to prospective newcomers is what effective marketing is all about and demonstrates a positive, proactive management approach. However, it doesn't change the reality that many fly shops have already closed and a good many of those that remain open appear to be at risk of closing soon, if the state of their current inventory is any indication.

    Orvis is in the enviable position of being well capitalized, well managed and produces many of its own products, meaning it is able to adjust pricing on an as-needed basis instead of only when its suppliers allow it. Natural selection suggests Orvis will continue to be a major player in our sport long after the current economic conditions have passed.

    I'm not so sure that some of Orvis' competitors will be able to avoid extinction, even those who seemed healthy and robust just a year or two ago.

    K
     
  13. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    Well, I am sure nobody is interested in an old man's opinion, but I am going to throw mine in anyway.

    I started flyfishing when you could get a rod, reel and line for less than fifty dollars.
    Granted, to a lot of folks, fifty dollars was a lot of money for a hobby then. They were not top of the line or big name items but they got you on the water and they caught fish. Isn't this what it is all about?

    About 1970, Visa Card came out with a national advertising slot of a guy with a high end bamboo rod, top of the line reel and fancy colored fly line attached to a bright fly. They sold it as not being able to buy this outfit with anything but a Visa card.

    After that commercial, I noticed that I was seeing a lot of fellows show up on the river with very expensive gear. Advertising will do that and that is good. But in this day of $500.00+ reel, and rods that run more, hundred dollar fly lines and three hundred dollar waders, something has to give.

    They don't seem to be making any more fishing holes, at least not here in Washington.
    All these things add up to tough times in the fly shops. I wish I had the answer, but alas I do not.
     
  14. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?


    That's precisely why the fly fishing fair in Monroe works.

    Leland.
     
  15. Be Jofus G

    Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    First time I walked into an orvis shop my thought was "I want to get back into flyfishing, holy shit I need a better paying job!" :rofl: Glad I did. It sort of motivated me to get off my ass and start working harder.

    Like any business, the weak shops who do not innovate will go under. I thought Orvis' attention to the wives and sisters of fishermen gap was freaking brilliant. Mom and Pop shops better get really good at finding ways to get inexpensive high quality gear to suppliment the killer high end stuff they sell. There are a couple shops who do this well that I've been to. It's definatly not the majority. Streching the marketing dollar is key as well.
     
  16. BFK

    BFK Member

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    That may well be the case regionally but not so nationally. Just look at the problems AFTA and the Denver show have had--and look at the statistics for the sport. You have newbies coming in, but you have the old-guard and wannabes moving out.


    "The important marketing lesson to come out of this is that we shops are looking to increase the size of the market by bringing new people into the sport and not simply trading our existing customers (you guys) back and forth."

    You're right--the key here is to get new folks into the sport, but how will that be accomplished? It would be a good idea to find what the roadblocks are that keep folks out.
     
  17. stewart dee

    stewart dee Guest

    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    I think my shop should employee a hot girl, sell more made in the U.S. stuff and have a scotch bar.
     
  18. Bob Jones

    Bob Jones Still truckless now farther away

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    Leland and others too, the Monroe show is what I'm looking forward too this year the only other time I've gone to a fly fishing show it just discouraged me. I spent nothing as it seemed there wasn't any way I could keep enjoying my sport without being much better off. My first fly rod was a montegue, that and the reel cost Dad about $10 and we fished the back country of Yosemite once or twice a year. I have the rod but gave the reel to a grand son about ten years ago so he could get started fly fishing. Seeing that some of the shops are giving free casting help and trying out outfits also should help with the new customers and some of us old timers too. Bob
     
  19. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

     
  20. Bob Jones

    Bob Jones Still truckless now farther away

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    How's you Fly Shop doing?

    If she doesn' know anything about flyfishing thats a very limited help. Made in the U.S.A. just would make the prices go up higher in most cases and we see enough drunks out on the rivers as it is, we don't want them driving in town too. Bob