Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Don Barton, Apr 20, 2011.
You on the other hand, are the epitome of grace and class and a model for flyfishers young and old.
Here, Here. Thanks for sharing.
I don't go into a fly shop to have my feelings cared for. I'd rather have a couple of guys who are rough around the edges, but willing to help out a guy who doesn't know what he's doing (that's me). I used to go into the Kmans downtown often, up until they started having inventory issues. The guys in there were always above and beyond helpful.
They'll be missed.
+1 for the big box
-1 for the little guys.
Around long before all the other shops in the Seattle/Bellevue area (except Patricks), Kaufmanns was the Nordstrom of fly shops. If it wasn't in stock, they would ship it up from Tigard and often have it the next day. Materials were fresh. Dennis was a bit prickly but I got along with him just fine and was treated well by all of the employees. We are blessed with many fine shops today and I appreciate them all, but I will miss Kaufmanns still.
Sorry to hear. Got all my fly tying materials from them mail order for years, and their steelhead fly tying kit in 1980 which got me started on that species. Bet I have some of their catalogues in my FF magazine stack. Was always a highlight of the winter getting their new catalogue in the mail and determining what I needed. Wish I would have had the time a year ago when I was in Seattle on business to visit the store, but no time on that trip out to Yakima and back in two days. Was just looking at Randalls Nymph fly tying book last week. Sadly, losing shops out here in the mid west also.
Great post, Jake.
I had limited experiences with the folks at Kaufman's, some experiences were good, some a little less than good. I can say that about most retail stores. What I know is I hate to see icon stores like Kaufman's, Eddie Bauer, and Ben Paris' go by the wayside. (Anyone else remember the live trout pool at Paris'?) Seattle has changed from the rugged big small town to a huge metro area that specializes in the weird and unusual but has great places to eat. We still have Filson and REI but I can't afford Filson stuff and REI doesn't sell fly stuff. I guess it is necessary to go further afield for my fly shop needs if Patrick's doesn't have it, kind of like the fishing here, too. I am grateful to have the folks at Patrick's, Avid Angler, Orvis, and Anvil's shop when I can find his new location.
What a bummer.
I had the last Kman's print catalog until last year when it was so dog-eared and out of date that I purged it in a weak moment. I didn't fall asleep with mine but rather saved it for my special 'reading room' with its porcelain throne. My current favorite reading materials are from Orvis and The Fly Shop.
Second that on The Fly Shop. I have the 2010 in my reading room.
Bob Aid is working part time for us now and we are glad to have him on board. We are sorry to see Kaufman's close. Several good NW shops have closed in the last few years. It's a tough go for fly shops these days, and the biggest competitor for every shop is the internet. I'll echo Jergens sentiment and say thank you to everyone that supports their local fly shop.
I'm gonna quibble a bit with your comment above and suggest that your biggest competitor isn't the Internet, but other fly retailers who have figured out how to use the Internet to better leverage their sales. Using the web effectively allows a traditional brick and mortar retailer to vastly expand their geographic reach and seasonal customer base. I visited with the folks at Leland in SF a few weeks ago. Their well-stocked shop is about the same size as Avid Angler's, yet they told me the Internet accounts for 85% of their volume.
Jerry Swanson, Kman's long-time travel guru, has started his own flyfishing travel business. Great guy with great advice. Check out his website.
As did I Hal, as did I. Not much in the way of 'reading material' in the bathroom, but their catalog was a MUST.
Wow, horrible news.
When I moved to the PNW (Portland) from NY almost 25 years ago, Kaufmann's was one of my first pilgrimages. I looked at a map (no MapQuest in those days) and figured it would take me about an hour to get from my house in NE Portland to the (old) store in Tigard, when I got there in less than 1/2 hour, I knew I had landed in paradise (on a less pleasant note, my second quest -- to find the fabled Skamania river, home of the Skamania steelhead I had fished for in Lake Ontario, taught me that there was trouble even in paradise). I spent many happy hours in that store, met some good friends, shared stories and learned a lot. I was always treated well, the staff while not "friendly" was always knowledgeable, and opened up once they got to know you and came to the conclusion that you were serious; like most people I guess. I remember looking at an (old original model) Marryat reel with Randal; when we turned the tag over and saw the price we both knew it had been mislabeled. I said something, and he replied to the effect, "yep, probably right, but that's what it says, if you want it, it's yours" when he insisted he was serious I bought the reel -- tho it is semi-retired it is still functional.
When I moved to Seattle a few years ago, the Bellevue store was already closed, and the downtown store never did become my shop destination. But I did drop into the (new) Tigard store when I was in the PDX area.
RIP Kaufmann's, I'll miss you. Lance, Randy, Jacob and the rest of the staff, hope you all land on you feet.
Don't forget Kevin. That poor guy was the last holdout employee in Seattle and had to endure day after day of solitary confinement interrupted by the occasional visitor asking, "Where's all the stock? Are you going out of business?", which of course he was instructed not to fully answer by HQ in Oregon while they were probably trying to sort out financing or a business sale. That guy deserves a vacation.
I couldn't agree more - especially a paid one.
Learned most of what I know from Kevin...
I truly feel for Kevin. It must have been tough for the last six months. At the end, he was bitter. I guess you could say he had in-the-moment traumatic stress disorder. I do wish him the very best.
Lugan, Kent and co., it's Becker..
I'm not so worried about any paid vacation (I appreciate that! but am fairly weened from the notion and concept) as I am the whereabouts of all the customers who went missing following the Fall '08 "crash". I'm serious. From that point, on, the usual traffic volume was abruptly missing, only to dwindle gradually from there to virtually nothing (unless you count "saddle hackle chicks" and "generally wanderin' downtown shoppers").
And, yes, it got to the point where it was definitely "surreal". For 30 months I listened to everybody chanting "recovery slogans" in the face of strong evidence to the contrary, and I think Lance was really hoping those "hopes" would come true (all prevailing evidence, viz. "nosedive", to the contrary). I don't mean to sound 'negative', but when the ship is going down, does "oh, it'll bob back up" really help? Or at some point is it a better idea to face and deal with a worsening crisis? Anyways...
In the end, I got Lance to agree to let me go due to lack of work the Thursday prior to the closure/seizure (whatever the heck it is), because 1) there was no work for months and, 2) I didn't see it viably turning around. I actually sensed it was mathematically impossible months beforehand, but rode it out just in case, didn't want to leave Lance hanging.. but I just couldn't sit there and try to pretend for everybody that it wasn't happening (the demise) anymore.
I can't emphasize enough how much I appreciate everyone who sought help and service at Kaufmann's over all the years I've been there, and how much I miss the days when I got to see a whole lot more of you a whole lot more. And I do want to apologize to the handful who caught me in my moments of frustration down the homestretch. Not being able to provide or help when that's why I was ever there in the first place... kinda ate me up. So to those few.. I am sorry.
Ultimately, I hope there's enough of you guys (and gals) left out there to viably support the shops we do have left standing. I'm sure the big boxes will be fine with their well-diversified offerings and market positioning. For all your differences, you're all some of the very best folks I could have ever hoped to know and serve. On that note..
Thanks, Don - I was mainly thinking of you, but there were a couple others. Good luck out there, man.