Re: Fly Shops
I think there is a connection between the customer service and the product in stock, and visa versa. Successful shop owners know they need both. This seems very true here in Denver where there are tons of shops to choose from, but with the rise of the internet, it is true even in areas with only one shop.
Knew a shop back in Michigan that had poor customer service and they also rarely had any tying stuff in stock and were often low on basics like tippet etc. If you weren't coming in to look at expensive waders, rods, reels, etc they weren't very interested in you. I came to learn that they were struggling financially and couldn't afford to stock much product. Personally I rarely went there, even to buy what they had because of the poor customer service and I know I wasn't alone and that was before they thinned their inventory.
I'm generally happy browsing without interruption and don't need much from the staff, but when they act like you're not worth their time unless you're spending hundreds and offers no useful info about local fishing, I start wondering why I'm wasting gas money to get there. These days I'm grateful to have a number of great shops close to home. I find I usually learn something, find something I want, and have a good experience.