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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2013, 02:25 PM
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Default Re: What Makes a Great Fly-Shop?

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Originally Posted by saltinthedesert View Post
Great stuff guys. Nothing off my radar, but I like some of the specifics. Particularly, asking to see someone's fly-box. I'm not opening one myself, but I have a good buddy considering it, and there is a long list of failed attempts in my area.

Some would say we don't have the market for it, but I think some of the problematic areas mentioned were more the cause. I'm open to any more input if it hits you guys.
I have one more, tell him to set up for on-line sales and to become a Trade Member here on this forum.

If he does a good web site for people to shop then this is perhaps the Best place to advertise the items. Being active in discussions here will go a long way toward bringing in business also. I don't mean constantly hocking the business but becoming a regular contributer to the threads will get the word out to a Huge membership and millions of visitors on this web site.


Just Say'n,

Ard
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:27 AM
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Default Re: What Makes a Great Fly-Shop?

Also be on the bank of some great water, with fish that are known to humble the best. If you have that everything else is minor.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: What Makes a Great Fly-Shop?

I'm not sure I've ever been in a "great" fly shop. The ones I've visited have ranged from very good to disgraceful. They all seem to have deficiencies of one kind or another, (what doesn't? nobody can afford to carry everything) but the shops that make up for it with a high comfort level for the customer are the ones I'll go out of my way to patronize. IME, a lot of shops hire people whose main qualifications are that they fish and tie flies, regardless of their ability to deal with the public in a pleasant and respectful manner. Judging from the responses in this thread, I'd say it's obvious that others have had similar experiences. In an age where it's possible to have virtually anything delivered to your door in a few days, B&M shops have to offer the customer something he won't find online. That is, friendly service and valuable information. Answering questions with a grunt or withholding local information is a surefire way for the place to join the long list of shops that have gone under. Nobody expects an employee to "burn" his favorite fishing spots, but a little help isn't too much to ask for, particularly if the customer is obviously C&R oriented. (it's not hard to tell) There are no fly shops here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, which isn't a huge problem in this day and age, but I really miss being able to pick up a few materials on the spot and shooting the breeze with fellow flyrodders. Paying a little extra for materials isn't really an issue as long as the experience is pleasant and helpful. The less said about the big box outlets the better. I've gotten better service at Walmart than I've gotten in most of them.
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: What Makes a Great Fly-Shop?

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Originally Posted by peterjay View Post
I'm not sure I've ever been in a "great" fly shop. The ones I've visited have ranged from very good to disgraceful. They all seem to have deficiencies of one kind or another, (what doesn't? nobody can afford to carry everything) but the shops that make up for it with a high comfort level for the customer are the ones I'll go out of my way to patronize. IME, a lot of shops hire people whose main qualifications are that they fish and tie flies, regardless of their ability to deal with the public in a pleasant and respectful manner. Judging from the responses in this thread, I'd say it's obvious that others have had similar experiences. In an age where it's possible to have virtually anything delivered to your door in a few days, B&M shops have to offer the customer something he won't find online. That is, friendly service and valuable information. Answering questions with a grunt or withholding local information is a surefire way for the place to join the long list of shops that have gone under. Nobody expects an employee to "burn" his favorite fishing spots, but a little help isn't too much to ask for, particularly if the customer is obviously C&R oriented. (it's not hard to tell) There are no fly shops here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, which isn't a huge problem in this day and age, but I really miss being able to pick up a few materials on the spot and shooting the breeze with fellow flyrodders. Paying a little extra for materials isn't really an issue as long as the experience is pleasant and helpful. The less said about the big box outlets the better. I've gotten better service at Walmart than I've gotten in most of them.

I agree with almost all of this. I am lucky because one of the few shops I would call great is also my "local" shop about an hour away. If you a spey person then very few shops can match the Red Shed in Peck, ID. Top of the line everything and Poppy is "the man." Nothing like having a few hours to kill and heading down there to bs with him. Definitely a great shop for us spey guys.
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: What Makes a Great Fly-Shop?

There is only one fly shop in my region. It looks like the owner is barely able to stay above water. I rarely see any new stuff. Has very few hackles....no Chinese hackles at all. He does have some 80 dollar hackle necks but I can't afford them and would never be able to use all of those hackles in a lifetime. He doesn't want to make half necks with the hackle necks he already owns even though they seem to be on display for over 2 or 3 years.

A long time ago, I asked if he stocked some Danville's monocord. He just said "no" and I let it go at that. The other day, I noticed that he was tying with Danville's monocord but did not have any for sale. He decided to order some and the following week he had a few spools of white monocord. I asked if he had any brown or olive monocord but he said that white was the best one to use because it blended well into any colour of material. I ordered 6 spools on-line and saved over 2 dollars per spool.

The owner just loves tube flies. I have no desire to go in that direction but he is well stocked for those who like tube flies.

The owner just loves CDC. He says that it floats well. I ask myself....why does he use it as wing material? Wings do not touch the water so how do they aid in flotation? You either use hackles to support the fly off the water or you use body materials to make your fly float. CDC is BS.

This fly shop has a lot of Mustad hooks but I prefer higher quality hooks. They also do not have metal tinsel....it's mylar or nothing. He hasn't had mottled turkey quills in over 2 years.

I prefer buying stuff that I can inspect before buying but I have to buy on-lne and trust the seller.
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:48 AM
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Default Re: What Makes a Great Fly-Shop?

Just got my internet order from J Stockard. Wow! I'm delighted.
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Old 05-11-2013, 07:40 PM
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Default 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.
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Last edited by browell7; 05-11-2013 at 08:10 PM. Reason: Grammer
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Old 05-11-2013, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: What Makes a Great Fly-Shop?

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Originally Posted by coug View Post
I agree with almost all of this. I am lucky because one of the few shops I would call great is also my "local" shop about an hour away. If you a spey person then very few shops can match the Red Shed in Peck, ID. Top of the line everything and Poppy is "the man." Nothing like having a few hours to kill and heading down there to bs with him. Definitely a great shop for us spey guys.
Have to totally agree. When you call, and he knows your voice....... "Hi Mike, it's Fred" and you go from there. Which reminds me, I have a small order. Last one (a biggie) I didn't even ask 'How much?' (+$100.00 USD when the package hit my mail box.)

Edit: Should ask him to have his wife send me some of her choc-0-chip cookies. When you win a prize at their get together the 'prize' is the size of the cookie. How cool is that??

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Old 05-12-2013, 02:59 AM
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Default Re: What Makes a Great Fly-Shop?

I feel from both the business and customer aspect the fly shops that thrive are those that separate themselves from the word "Shop".
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: What Makes a Great Fly-Shop?

My $.02

My favorite shop has the cheaper brands. Pflueger, chinese knock offs and stuff like that. They also sell flies, boots, and tippet WAY cheaper than any other shop in the state. I think it's probably because they've been there forever and the overhead is low.

I don't make a ton of money doing what I do so I appreciate being able to buy quality stuff that won't bankrupt me. I got a reel for $50 that totally rocks and I was able to get it without the snotty attitude that some of the other shops give you.

But, the downside to that shop is that they don't have ANY high end stuff. I wanted one of those Simms zingers (the ones with the springy plasticy thing in that metal tube) and they didn't have one.

So, my ideal shop would have a nice selection of all the brands and price ranges. $20 vests to $200 vests. $50 reels all the way up to $400 reels. $20 nets all the way to $200 nets.

But... I was a manager at a music store for many years so I know that it is tricky to be an authorized dealer for every brand. Some brands wouldn't let you stock brand x if you already stocked brand y. Some brands made you "buy in" to get inventory. Like you had to buy $10,000 worth of stuff. And a lot of it just sits there chewing up inventory dollars. I don't know if it's the same for fishing gear but I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

I'll end on a story:
I used to shop at a fly shop that had a nice sale on flies every Thursday. They were really nice to me and helped me get what I needed to be successful on the river. But I only ever bought flies and fly boxes from them because the rods, reels, boots, etc were WAY too expensive for me. But I felt like I was loyal and I bought several hundred dollars worth of flies from them.

The other day, on my way home from a particularly messy day at work (I was unshaven, messy clothes, looking like I'd worked hard all day) I went in because I was in the neighborhood and they always sold this one particular caddis pattern that I couldn't find anywhere else. So I went in there and the guy behind the counter (who I'd never seen before) said, "can I help you?" I said I knew what I was after and went to where those caddis patterns usually live. But I didn't see them so I said, "Where are the caddis patterns?" The guy behind the counter huffed a little and came over and said in the most syrupy, condescending way, "These are caddis, these are stoneflys, these are midges..." I said, "Yeah... I know what they are. You had a bunch of caddis here before and there's one that I like that I don't see." He said, "What you see is what we have. I don't know what you're talking about." So I walked out and I'll honestly probably never return.

One bad experience stands out above EVERY good experience. Remember, some of your most loyal customers are not the ones buying Orvis and Simms. The most dedicated anglers are out there busting up cheap boots and waders, carrying 2 mid level rods and reels with a box full of affordable flies. Treat the guy in overalls with the same respect as the guy in the business suit. Have a fly tying night, have some great sales... build up a community of people that will only go to YOUR store.

That's the secret of success... in my opinion for whatever that's worth.
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