How's your Fly Shop doing?

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

  1. 1morecast

    1morecast Active Member

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    Kent is was the grizzley hackle.

    I agree with larry, the price of FF equipment is going through the roof!!
     
  2. pmjasper

    pmjasper Member

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    One thing that has not been mentioned is quantity discounts given by manufacturers to big box stores versus your local mom and pop shop.

    I had a good friend back in NJ who owned a local bait and tackle shop. He sold all your standard saltwater bait, lures, rigs, etc. but when it came to rods and reels, he just couldn't make any money. Reason is this....Cabelas contacts Orvis and says they need 10,000 Battenkill reels to cover all their stores. My guy calls up and says he needs 3. If they regularly retail for $75, Cabelas might get a quantity discount at $60 a piece, while my guy gets them for $75. Now Cabelas can turn around and sell each reel for $75 and make $15 on each reel while my guy has to raise the price just to make something out of the deal. Now Joe customer comes in and says how are you going to sell that reel for $80 or $85 dollars when Cabelas has it for $75???? The death of the small shop begins.

    I was brought up being taught that if you rely on a service, such as obtaining fishing information, then you should reward that service with business. I NEVER walked into a tackle or fly shop, asked a question or two about fishing and then have gone somewhere else to purchase the stuff. It's just not right in my book. When you frequent a smaller shop the benefit you should be getting is service. Some small shops get it right, others miss the boat completely, but overall I am willing to pay a little more for that service connected with a small shop. Just a month ago I contacted a local fly shop in Milwaukee to ask about what line might be appropriate for swinging flies on the Lake Michigan tributaries in the area. The owner, Pat Ehlers, specifically help develop a line to do such. He took the time to answer my questions and explain what setup he feels is most successful for what i am trying to accomplish. Therefore, I bought a spare spool for my reel, the line he suggested and a few other materials because I appreciated the service he provided. He even spooled the spare spool and added backing at no charge so I was ready to go when I received it. I could have gotten the gear a little cheaper and maybe a bit quicker (spool was out of stock), but the knowledge i took away from our conversations is something I felt should be rewarded.

    Now more than ever money is tight. I won't tell people not to look for the best prices out there. That being said, when you want to know what hatches are going off, what techniques have been producing or where might be your best bet to wet a line, I feel there is no better place than your local shop. All I'm saying is if you receive good service, reward it.
     
  3. NomDeTrout

    NomDeTrout Fly Guy Eat Pie

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    the thing with stores like Cabelas is that they're constantly running promotion after promotion. For example, I recently saw that they were selling their Ross Evolution's for literally half the price. If I'm buying a Ross Evo, sure i'd like to inspect it, but i'd also liek to take my chances (you can always return it) and pay half the price without inspecting it.

    Likewise they are constantly runnign promo's for free shipping, 30$ off over $150 purchases, etc etc etc. Makes for a very tempting purchase.

    The whole deal with buying online is that now that so many stores are online and often running promotions, the incentive to buy from a local store diminishes more and more. Why pay $200 for something when you can get the same thing from another reputable online store for $50 less with free shipping promotion and a free hat to come with it?

    Let's face it, fly fishing is a very very niche industry. its a niche within a niche. It's a diminishing market, not because people aren't interested, but with the prices as high as it is, compared to spinning gear, its hard for peopel to really pick it up as a hobby.

    Take it from someone who is very much new to fly fishing but has watched the industry from the side lines for a couple years now. The price hike along with the pressure is ridiculously high. This is an industry where if you're not holding a sage rod and Simms waders, and a nice little fanny pack to go with it, you're not a legit fly fisher. I recently read an article in Field and Streams about Alaskan fly fishing where they advertise all the awesome expensive gear within the articles. While entertaining to read, extremely deterring to see the prices and an article where they make it seem like you NEED to have the gears to be legit. They do however mention how the locals often come rolling in with sweat pants on and such.

    Unlike spinning gear fishing there is a definite expensive/luxury image and culture that goes with fly fishing, whether you like it or not. It is an extremely glamorized sport. I'd say this was probably the biggest deterring factor before I actually looked into fly fishing.

    Its intimidating when a person like me thinks "man fly fishing sounds great, maybe i'll go check out some gear....HOLY SHIT $800 ROD, FUCK THAT" and sadly...$800 rods don't seem to be all that rare.

    that is just unheard of with spinning gear. The most expensive baitcaster I have is $170 with a Clarus rod (also considered very high quality) priced at $90...and thats often regarded as top of the line. You look at the average fly fishing reel, hovering just around 200$, its extremely difficult for a beginner to invest $200-300 on just a reel, not to mention the ridiculously high prices on a rod, on a sport they don't even know if they want to continue on with after the first month.

    Anyway, the point is, at some point, there has to be a company that contributes to the industry with a price point that won't scare the newcomers away. I think Orvis does a great job at this. Despite soem of their high price point equipment, they not only sell affordable rods and reels, they sell an image. You walk into an Orvis store and you feel like a fly fishing God. Along with a very well developed ecommerce site that has a strong focus on conversion optimization. Alot of the local stores have some catching up to do. Like someone else has stated - they're not business folks, they're people passionate about fly fishing. At some point, if they want to stay in business and compete, they have some catching up to do.

    I do what I can to support the local stores. Not because they have incredible deals but because I'm a people person and I like face to face interaction. I like learning from the people who are at the fore front of it all. But god damn it, they make it so hard for me to shop there when I can save so much money elsewhere!
     
  4. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    OK. I take back a little bit of what I said about "greed" entering the market place. I think Orvis has come up with the right idea a bit by introducing the "Hydros" fly rods at around $500. Also, some of the other manufacturers have done similar, so you can still get a nice quality mid-road rod at a .... ah.... moderate price :D . Is that moderate.... hmmm. I think if the high end rods should go for around $500 tops, they would have many more sales! I started getting "lost in space" when all the manufacturers started introducing "new models" EVERY STINKING YEAR like snow skiing equipment. A good marketing game I guess. Not my cup of tea tho. It almost irritates me. Oh, we have a new model fly line this year! Technology improves, granted, but come on.... I bought a new hotshot fly line two years ago (I guess). The brand name starts with a "C" and has the numbers 555 in it. Well, after two seasons of use, it was cracked. I turned the double taper around to the unused part, it was cracked also!! I was peturbed, because my OLD fly lines never did that before. I was a little embarrassed to send it in, but I did, and the customer service was good and they replaced it.
    I guess this is a little off subject...oh well, it's raining and I can't fish with all that mud!!
     
  5. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Well-Known Member

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    Cool thread. I've wondered more than once how so many fly shops could exist in this region. Maybe the number is unsustainable and they can't.

    When I seriously got into fly fishing, there was one dedicated fly shop in Seattle, and three other sporting goods stores that carried some fly gear, Warshalls and Eddie Bauer downtown, and a store whose name I can't remember in the south end. That was it for the entire metro area. The next closest was also a general sporting goods store, Ted's in Lynnwood, then John's in Everett, none in Tacoma that I knew of, and a general sporting goods store with some fly stuff in Olympia.

    The fly fishing niche market grew with Avid in 1977, Kaufmann's in Bellevue around 1980, then downtown a few years later when the yuppie invasion of fly fishing was well under way. The proliferation continued with "the movie" in 1992. According to friends in the business, saturation and leveling of market growth began around 2003, depending on location and who you're talking to.

    That leads me to think Ive's post about niche markets, fads, and saturation is on the mark. While I appreciate Leland's remarks about growing the customer support base, and support the concept, I think there is also an intersection and collision of key elements to the equation. The human population base continues to grow, so the philosophy of perpetual growth in fly fishing appears possible from that angle alone. However, on the intersecting force is the finite supply of "places" to practice fly fishing. Most long time anglers already feel that the good spots have long been over-saturated with participants. The supply of good fly water is decreasing, not increasing, and there is precious little we can or will do about that.

    To meet the social need for a place to fish, locally we have designated a very mediocre stream CNR for its resident trout. WDFW is proposing to designate a very mediocre small lake year round CNR for stocked trout and self sustaining spiny rays, and it's getting some opposition because every lake is some meat fisherman's favorite. These waters are very likely the future of fly fishing in WA, and they are not high quality waters, but they are places where the burgeoning human population that is hell bent of fly fishing, can use it's multi-thousand dollar sporting goods investment to CNR sizeable hatchery trout and 8" wild cutthroat. It's a crossroads of supply and demand that the fly fishing industry is merely a symptom of. The industry is sustainable, but more likely than not, not at its present level. So some shops and manufacturers won't survive. And no matter what the human demand might rise to, the decreasing relative supply of suitable fly fishing water will exert some limits to the growth of the sport in the same way that shrinking wildlife habitat and changing public attitudes and preferences are shrinking the interest in hunting on the national scale.

    It will balance out. Of that I'm sure. But I think the balance will be with fewer shops serving whatever the sustainable customer base ends up being that can or will tolerate the available supply of quality and mediocre fly fishing experiences, because we won't all travel out of state and out of country to fish all the time.

    Sg
     
  6. martyg

    martyg Active Member

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    Your math and premise are way off.
     
  7. gt

    gt Active Member

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    i don't think there is a definitive answer to the original question. there are way too many ball in the air to fully appreciate why one business is still going good and another shut down.

    when i got seriously started, there was only mcneese's in salem,or. dave was an artist, crazy wader, and knowledgable dude in all things steel. his shop was small, carried the essential materials that dave thought were the most important, he would happily tell you all about that, and sage rod blanks that he made up into works of art. dave made a serious mistake way back when and poof.

    kaufmans was a pretty folksy place on pacific ave in tigard, or. randall was always there up front passing out the B.S. many folks you run into working at other establishments actually got a start courtesy of randall. but he wanted to fish and do other stuff so lance bought him out and changed the character and nature of the total business. folksy went in the dumpster and high end marketing took over. another business decision you can scratch yur head about.

    waters west continues to survive, how i don't know, but dave is in many, many ways just like mcneese, an artist. the materials that are in his shop are astonishing and many of them were hand died by dave himself, just as mcneese used to turn out eye popping products. i only shop there, stop in often to say howdy, swap fishing stories with dave and curt and sort through their stuff to see what else i really don't need :)

    hopefully they will make it through this continuing economic mess and come out at the end of the next couple of years still in business.

    costs? when you price fix, you get astronomical costs, period. all the major brands are involved with this and it takes real guts to stand up to'um, and few do so. it reminds me of my long departed father who worked in a downtown chicago camera store in the 50s. at that time they were THE place to shop in the lower 48. leica, nikon, cannon, and all the rest were price fixing. mr altman called the employees together and told um to move the inventory he was tired of dusting it off. you can imagine the uproar from all the major mfg's as their pricing policies were challenged. what happened is an increase in the bottom line for the mfg and the retailer, surprise, surprise.

    but it takes balls to do this sort of challenging as well as pretty deep pockets, something the small fly shops really don't have. as usual, the market will sort itself out, the major price fixers will start to see their profits dropping and hopefully the small retailer's will survive.

    cabala's??? what a joke of a store. now if you are after bass, they are the bomb. other than that they have virtually nothing of interest to the PNW fishing community. i have zero need to ever stop there again, a total waste of time.
     
  8. pmjasper

    pmjasper Member

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    Really Marty G???

    Please explain because, while it may be different in some venues, I saw directly what Penn fishing reels did to the small shop owner I knew back in NJ. He WAS charged a "full" price for the reels he purchased because he only bought 10 at most, while their representative, directly at Penn, told him that there were quantity discounts offered, particularly to larger shops that ordered in "bulk".

    Again, I'm not saying that you don't have some other credible information, but rather than just saying I'm off base, please expound on your information. Thanks.
     
  9. NomDeTrout

    NomDeTrout Fly Guy Eat Pie

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    pmjasper is right. I did some ecommerce development for awhile and saw the price differences for small runs vs large runs.
     
  10. Flyborg

    Flyborg Active Member

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    Standard discounts on tackle and fly reels start around 40%. If your friend was a legit brick and mortar shop, he wasn't being charged full price.
     
  11. NomDeTrout

    NomDeTrout Fly Guy Eat Pie

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    of course it wasnt full price...he means full cost price. pmjasper is simply stating that a major store like Cabelas, when they order hundreds of one model, their cost price per item is cheaper than say Joe Mom and Pop shop that orders just 10.

    Is this really a debatable issue? I thought it was quite obvious how retail works. I used to work for a pretty well known clothing company back in the days...we'd charge more per pair of jeans to small boutiques since they only buy 15 pairs as opposed to Nordstroms who buys hundreds at a time.
     
  12. Flyborg

    Flyborg Active Member

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    Look at his math. He's stating the shop paid full retail.
     
  13. NomDeTrout

    NomDeTrout Fly Guy Eat Pie

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    he may have gotten his terminology wrong but the point was pretty clear.
     
  14. mmarcus

    mmarcus steelhead chaser

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    I did my part yesterday by buying some materials and a couple flies. We will never get the same camaraderie and service if our fly shops close. Get out and do your part.
     
  15. Kirk Singleton

    Kirk Singleton Capt Kirk

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    I think that the fixed pricing structure that the rod companies use has really hurt the retailer. My income is down the last few years as well as others, I still by equipment and accessories but I need to wach how I spend. It is hard for me to buy a new rod from the shop for $700+- when I can get a new one on ebay for $400. I still buy the top of the line but I look for a discount when I can. What really chaps me is the amount of people that get pro deals or friend deals out of the Factory rep, but the prices are "fixed" for the rest of us :-( They should just allow the shops to have a sale once in a while like all the rest of the stores. How much X-mas shopping would happen at Nordstrom, Best Buy, Target etc if nothing went on sale? People would go other places. That said...I do support the local shops a lot. I probably spent $1000 last month alone on a new rain jacket and gear for steelhead. The local knowledge you get is invaluable. BUT I am still able to get info on a TV at Magnolia even thouth they have a sale for the hollidays. It is a shame that we are in this situation but in my opinion, the industry manufactor has stuck it to the retailer.