02-21-2009, 11:12 AM
Re: New production run of Sage XP's!!!
Hi to all,
Here is a brief history of Sage's beginning.
Sage was founded in 1979 by Don Green. It was originally called Winslow Manufacturing (after the city of Winslow on Bainbridge Island) but within a year had changed its name to Sage. Bruce Kirschner joined the company in 1980. The partnership of Don and Bruce operated the company until May of 1994 when it was sold to the Joshua Green Corporation. Bruce is currently the CEO of Sage and Don, although partially retired, is still the VP of Research and Development. Like all of us, heís in here working every day and obviously still very much enjoys it.
We should expect to see some of these companies fail. To me it seems that there is a trend of buying less expensive rods and reels made over seas. There is only so much market and every rod sold from over seas means one less sale from our American rod makers. The less expensive rods mean less profit for the small shop and the rod makers. The American builders have tried to adapt by selling low end rods made over seas. This seem to be a stop gap measure and may not work in the long run. I think they will end up going out of business or will end up selling mostly rods from over seas.
You can see this trend with Ross reels. They are getting more and more reels made over seas or now from Mexico. Orvis is one company who has been successful selling over seas products. LL Bean is another. Cabela's is kind of by its self selling both over seas equipment and American made equipment. This year Teton/Tioga reels is out of business unless someone buys the company. They sold some of the best low priced reels in America but couldn't compete. If they come back I bet there is a price increase.
So in the future I am afraid we will see more of the same. Especially with the business climate in America right now. People are not spending a lot of money and I am afraid that a lot fewer high priced rods will be sold this year.
Many of our new fly fishers will never have the experience of a small fly shop run by the owner and his wife. Where you will find wonderful bamboo rods and a wicker creel hanging on the wall. It seemed like no matter what you wanted the owner would shuffle things around and find just what you needed. That all the flies in the shop are tied by the owner and his wife or son. If you wanted something they had to order there was no deposit. When you walked into the shop the owner always called you by name. When you looked at something new to you, the owner always knew all about the product. If you were thinking about a new rod the owner would hand it to you and insist you go fish it for a few days. If you want to know how to tie a certain fly, the owner would sit down and show you how to tie it. There were always free fly tying instructions and free casting lessons.
My very best memory is a small shop with a pot belly stove in the middle of the shop. There was always some body sitting in one of the chairs. If you came into the store you had to sit down and talk. Have a cup of coffee or tea in my case. You didn't have to buy anything. Just share your fishing stories. If you had updated info the owner would add it to his blackboard that held all of the latest fishing hot spots.
These are all things I have experienced and it made fly fishing something different than what it is today. There may still be a few fly shops like I describe. If you find one, support it all you can. The great shops I have known are all gone.