Re: What Makes a Great Fly-Shop?
I have a box store and small independant shop close to home. When I go into the big city though, there are three independent shops to choose from. They all pretty much carry the same brands, so I'll usually just go to whatever shop is closest at the time. If they are out of a product I'm looking for, I'll go to the next shop. All three shops give a discount to members of Alaska Fly Fishers.
This winter I was tying a lot of flies so I made quite a few trips into the city shops. By the end of the winter, one stood out from the rest and now it's my go to shop.
Shop 1 - I've been shopping here the longest. My wife went into the shop to get me a Christmas present. She browsed around for a while and had a few questions in her head that she wanted to ask. Before she had the chance, she overheard two employees bragging about how they were able to talk a female customer into buying more than she needed, and also buying the most expensive options. My wife was turned off. She bought the gifts she wanted to get but didn't ask for help.
I went back to store 1 to get hooks. An employee helped me find the hooks I needed, but when a second employee asked me what I was tying, a Rat-faced McDougle, he said sarcasticly "Yeah, like the Alaska trout are that picky". I ignored his comment and continued to browse. Whioe browsing, this same guy answered a phone call from a customer. When he hung up, the two workers started making fun of the caller and the question he asked. My wife and I haven't been back to Shop 1 since.
Shop 2 - A very nice shop with experienced anglers willing to share a lot of information. I bought some tying materials there and then went to shop 1 to pick up some other materials. While at Shop 1, I compared their prices with what I bought at shop 2. Identical tying items cost 20-25% more at Shop 2. I don't go to Shop 2 anymore.
Shop 3 - The smallest of the three shops. The serivce is good, coffee is always on, there is a tv playing fishing videos or hockey games, stools to sit on, and a Fly Tech swim tank where customers can bring the streamers they tie to see what they look like in water with current before they hit the river. Prices are fair.They sponsor the local FFF events. When I asked how to tie the Haymaker, an employee sat at the vice and did a step by step with me.
I took my 66 year old mother-in-law into the shop to get he waders, boots, two reels, and two lines. The owner was very helpful and didn't try to upsell her.
Shop 3 is now the only shop I'll go to in the city.
I forgot to mention, Shop 3 doesn't have anti-Pebble Mine stickers in the store or plastered to the front door. Knowing that many of its customers work in resource extraction, this is a smart move. Keep politics out of the shop.
Last edited by browell7; 05-11-2013 at 08:10 PM.