You can't have it both ways!

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I am tired of hearing that people went into a fly shop to check out some new gear, (rods, reels, vises, materials, books, even trying on clothing, boots etc), asking the shop people some questions, and then promptly ordered the item from amazon or some similar site. Sometimes this online ordering was done with a smartphone from the very shops in question. This is just low. Im sorry, but if you think that some screen zombie at amazon is going to help you in any aspect of flyfishing, aside from a cheaper price, then you are totally lost. Don't lament the loss of fly shops in these past few years, and then come bragging here that you saved a lot of money on the internet. Fly Shops are more expensive because they provide merchandise and a service within a highly specialized and diverse set of activities. It is much more than just a job to run a fly shop. For many shop owners this is a way of life. Next time you are in a new location, looking for information on waters, hatches, flys etc, try calling amazon or some other sales site and see how that works out. Pissed! NOTE: (Saturday june 9 4:30 pm) Most of the replies to this topic are so far off topic it is become a sad reminder of what we have lost. And to the people who have a need to attack each other here I say: good thing we have some decent fishing weather coming!
If that happens the shop is not providing enough value, you need to give the consumer a reason to spend more for the same product. If you are being used as a fitting shop for online shoppers then the problem is with the shop. BR

Derek Young

Emerging Rivers Guide Services
Ask for the sale. It's amazing how many times I've shopped for non-fly fishing items, except for vehicles, and the sales person never asked for my business.


Active Member
Having a business education is important to success, especially when there is competition. If you are doing all the leg work for someone else to get the sale, you are doing it wrong. Perhaps the shop owners who are struggling should get some outside help or learn to understand the business side of owning a shop a bit better. BR
Exactly, a lot of these guys have no idea how to operate an inventory system and end up with way too much overhead. Have a friend who operates a guide service out of a ski rental place for just this reason, smart move in my opinion. I'll support the fly shop 10 out of 10 times though...BR, I use to live in Denver and shopped at Charlie's Fly Box, good example of someone does it right.
If that happens the shop is not providing enough value, you need to give the consumer a reason to spend more for the same product. If you are being used as a fitting shop for online shoppers then the problem is with the shop. BR
Wow As a shop owner I just don't how to respond to this....
I had the very thing that Bob is talking about happen to me just last week. A guy called and asked if we had a certain wading shoe in stock. I told him We did. When this customer came in the door and headde for the shoe dispaly I walked over introduced myself and asked if he was the one who called. I got the shoe he wanted out of the stack talked about the attributes of the shoe while I provided him with a neoprene bootie to make sure he had the proper sizing. While he tried on the boot we talked about local fishing opportunities. He liked the boot and it fit perfectly I asked him if he wanted to take them today and he declined. A few days later a buddy of his came in and told me he ordered them online to save the sales tax.
So mr BRsnow what value could I have added besides selling the product below MSRP or cheating the state out of their tax???
I guess I am really offended by your assertion that shop owners in general don't know how to provide good customer service and great value for the products we sell.
The big box "everything has to be on sale" mentality is hurting the fly shop business owners. Fly anglers will be lucky if there are any independant shops in business in ten years.
Enjoy your online relationships that is all you will have.


"Chasing Riseforms"
Well, let's face it. A lot of the fly gear is overpriced. It's time to start "dickering" with the dealer, just like a dang car salesman!! I see no need in rod manufacturer's coming out with a new rod every year like damn snow skiing equipment, but I suppose they call that "marketing"... You can buy a new fandangled fly rod on Ebay for many times for $200 less if you keep you eye out. It's pretty hard to flush $200 down a toilet. Of course, the ones I have seen on Ebay are from "fly shops", so, go figure. Clothing??? Well, we all know clothing is way overpriced. Remember men? It's a woman's world at "The Mall". You know how your woman over does it there... Vises? Overpriced. Geesus. It killed me to pay $175 for Renzetti Travler, and yet, there are vises that sell for at least twice that. I don't see the cost in manufacturing there at all, but, I guess I'm blind. Now, if some of this stuff wasn't "overpriced", I don't think we would have the problem of guys by-passing the shops. I rest my case. Oh, by the way, don't brag on here, about buying something cheaper after going to the fly shop. Bob has a good reason to be pissed.


Active Member
Hey Jesse, are you guys locked into MAP and have to sell at that price point authorized my the manu. or can u wiggle on the MAP? There are two basic price points in retail, MAP and MSRP. A dealer buys at direct wholesale and either has to sell at no lower than MAP or sell at MSRP if mandated by contract with said manu. Most sell at MAP unless directed by manu. to sell at MSRP. The difference betwen MAP and MSRP can be huge on big ticket items.

The reason I ask is I used to retail and install custom A/V equipment and if a customer shopped my pricing online and got a lower price, I had already negotiated with my dist. about wiggle room on MAP, I always sold at MAP. I would rather drop the price of the item by half or all the sales tax and make a sale and make SOME money than NONE at all.

Did you offer that guy the fact that you would drop half the price of sales tax on the item to keep his business local, make some money rather than none. I bet he would of purchased local rather than shopped online. If not, then that is a customer you did not want.

Not telling you how to run your business by any means, but loosing a sale over maybe $13 dollars on an item you may of profitted $75 does not seem logical. YOu can tell me to piss off on this last paragraph!:)


Active Member
I can see there being an arguement from both sides....Jesse, as a consumer who loves the sport but isn't hardcore due to many other hobbies and family obligations I try to get as much info from local shops as possible and in the case you pointed out, I would have no problem paying a premium price for a product given the "experience" I get at a local shop. On the other hand, for every great shop I've been to I've been to others that the people working there turn up there noses at me because, well, I don't spend 100 days on the river or know what every single fly in the store is called. In that instance, I've walked out of stores because of the arrogance some of these shops have. To be honest, both of these come across in your post and I can see your frustration.

I work for a very large consumer goods company and the notion that companies like Simms and Sage can dictate MSRP is completely crazy. As a supplier, we merely recommend the retail based upon cost and margins but by no means would we ever pull a product from a retailer because they didn't reflect an MSRP. We would pull their special pricing but never completely pull out of the store. In the same note, what avenue is there for a local shop to merely take less margin on a product and reflect a similar retail to those online stores? Realizing operating expenses are different but consolidating inventories, driving margins and retail to a competitive level may mitigate some of those loses. If a dealer pulls out of your store, why can't product be sourced from a wholesaler and resold at a slightly higher retail so one stays competitive with the larger box stores while still having the local shop feel. Heck, look at sourcing mid to high end gear from a private label company and throw your own label on it, just another option.

Being a small business owner is a tough gig, being a successful one is even harder and that's why many folks don't do it....if it were easy, everyone would do it. Local fly shops will be around in 10 years because guys like myself refuse to buy from online only stores, its just the way that the local fly shop goes to market that may be different. Just my $0.02 from an outsider/ consumer perspective....


The Dude Abides
think about this, everything is sales. As Derek said, ask for the sale. Coffee is for closers, and closing isnt a dirty word.

There are too many outlets of product for someone to be lock step devoted to one or another. With that said, i
am very devoted to my local shop of choice because of a non sales attribute.

SERVICE, service, service

It's my hang out, my club, bullshitting central when we all return from fishing trips. it has the feel I am looking for and in turn I play for the flies and the items I need from them. It never, never fails that I at least drop 10-15 bucks at a minimum per trip each time i am there, and I am there probably 2 times per week.

I feel like I get consistent service and they've become my friends. That's why I shop there and they take care of me and treat me like my money is appreciated although I know I am nowhere near the top 20 customers in amount of money I spend there. In return, I push business their way like fuggin crazy especially with beginners because they TAKE CARE OF THEIR CUSTOMERS
Just a question---what if the shop owners didn't allow "fitting" untill after the sale, something like, "...if you pay for the boots, I'll make sure you walk out with a pair that fits right..."

I feel your pain as shop owners, it's been happening to the HVAC trade for years now. Someone calls up and wants us to install a furnace they bought off eBay, with parts they bought from Home Depot (not quite the quality we want to put our names on). On the other hand, I've gone "fishing" in the local fly shops many times, and generally for your effort and answers, I try to buy something. I think if you made a rule that you buy first, then we'll match you up with the right equipment you may tik some folks off, but they probly wouldn't have been customers anyways. (a lot of HVAC outfits will charge the same to install a furnace bought off eBay as if you bought it from them---w/o the warranty)


Active Member
As for why fly shops could be failing I think is not due to the availability or ease of purchasing items online. I believe it's due to the ease with which one can find product information, reviews, and general expertise on the internet. The salesman is no longer the first point of contact for information, they're just the one with the goods. Doctors aren't even immune from this. My father was a car salesman, and tells me if he were to sell cars now he would just be an order taker. As to how shoppers are able bypass having to avail themselves of fly shop expertise, I don't think you have to look any further than this website. It's an archive of information including product reviews from guides, fly shop owners, authors, and all the rest of us, and for the most part, it seems pretty unbiased.

I'm at the poorest point I think I'll ever experience. If I had the money, I'd go to a shop for large purchases. Not just for the expertise and the product selection, but for the sense of community. Until that time, I scour the internet for clearance and dead stock. Do I feel guilty? yes.
I agree with Abomb, as an owner of a small fly shop you should be asking very hard questions on the vendors end. If someone else is selling the same product at a lower price (perhaps by volume orders) how do you expect me as a fly shop to compete?
If the vendor comes back at his best offer for that line of product and it doesn't compare given the markup to larger outlets then it's probably time to find a new vendor, one who takes interest in you/them making coin.

As for the book mentioned in the start post, find something to sell that's unique and Amazon doesn't sell.

I also agree with Abomb's comments as this is not a Wal-Mart, some customers (even in big box stores) you don't want or need them as a customer. You want to find the customers you like to sell to and keep them interested for years. It's your core customer base. Get to know them by name, how they like to fish, items bought over the years, la la la... I could keep going but I wont.

What else intrigues me is how small fly shops are ignoring how people are searching/shopping for gear, this could work in favor to move seasonal merchandise and prepare for next years inventory.

Lastly I will tell you a story on why I don't shop at small fly shops anymore. I had a few bad years of breaking rods while floating, running into bushes, getting rods caught in raft frames, trucks etc. I got sick and tired of asking the small fly shop now what... well I can't do anything for you, you must buy a new rod I guess. That's when I started buying rods at Cabelas online, if I break it my only out of cost expense was shipping 12-15 bucks... I would get a brand new rod back in a week. What the small shop didn't realize is I wasn't fishing for a fashion show (Loomis, Sage, Winston, Powell rods) on the river, I was out there to catch fish. They failed to get to know me and that's why they lost my business.