Bass pro buys Sportsmans Warehouse!

duker

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All the more reason to support your local fly shop, or any local fly shop really. Even with the proliferation of the worldwide web it amazes me how many mom and pop, bricks and mortar local shops have an internet presence and make it really easy to do business with them, no matter where you happen to live. I'm in the relative boonies up here in Canada's frozen north, but I've ordered tackle from fly shops across the US and Canada and never had an issue. I know Covid has hit a lot of small businesses really hard, but there are many--including many fly shops--which have taken the opportunity to adapt and reach out and try to expand their business, and I'm happy to support those. The Bass Pros of the world don't need my business.
 

burk48237

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My concern is the effect on the overall market, not just fishing. Remember years ago K-Mart, Target and Wal Mart had big fishing and hunting departments. They don't ever carry pistol Ammo any more Target is out of the outdoor market completely, and K Mart is gone. So if you work for a Tackle company now one company is consuming about 60-80% of your product. Even in Fly, if you don't think the bosses at Far Bank and Simms don't say how high, when Bass pro says jump, you're crazy. This will effect inventory availability for the small stores across the board. Who do you think gets priority in shipping at Simms? A 15,000 order from a good small business or a 500,000 order from BPS? Also BPS has a MO of weening itself off it's outside vendors, by knocking off the best selling items and reducing name brand inventory. This is a huge problem in the industry. It will not be good. I will give credit to Scott and Patagonia, they have chosen to stay big box free. I think it's a smart move in the long run.
 

ratherfish

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My first encounter with BPS was on the end-caps of shelves in liquor stores in Columbia, MO, then I was going through Springfield and stopped at his store, at the old K-Mart. I do hand it to Mr. Morris for his accomplishments, he has lived the American Dream, a self-made man. I probably spend a lot a year with the BPS here in Broken Arrow, OK. No, not on boats, on all small's and ammo, a few guns in the 3000$ range are the largest single purchases. Just got home from there an hour ago, dropped another 250$. Management all knows me, but my reward points often put the counter help in shock. However, this year I have been starting to spread the love a bit. Dropped almost a third of my spending at my local gun store this year and intend to spread it out more in the future. I also intend to greatly scale back too.
 
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ratherfish

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We only have one local fly-shop here, and he don't have a large supply of equipment, but a lot of clothes and Yeti's and knives, and real cool man stuff, just not a lot of fly gear. He'll order it, but I like to touch and feel, and do impulsive purchases. I'll go in stores because I feel like I should need something. When I am traveling and stop by a local gun store or fly shop, I buy something just because I feel like I should. I have all kinds of stuff I have never taken out of the package, I tend to fall back on my old faithful stuff - guns, fly-rods, bass-rods, an entire closet full of bass lures. It's kinda embarrassing. Wife is not allowed in my little space LOL.
 

jrp11948

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Sad to hear that. They really are pushing the low end stuff. I liked Cabela's gear but BP is like the Kmart of sporting goods!
 

LOC

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Are we a high end sport or a low end sport?

The crux of fly fishing is we have different parties in the industry working both sides of the coin...
 
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Bigfly

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My experience with the bass guys, is they know squat about trout. Cheap flies and rods, and forgetting to ask a customer which way they reel...which I've had to fix before we fish.
Around here the Warehouse is not much better. Feels like everything was ordered for the Midwest. Off brands and flies that don;t match our bugs....and folks wonder why the don't get "lucky".

Jim
 

alfaromeo

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maybe the quality off there fly tieing material will get better.. i bought some maribou from them and it was not useable, only a few strands
 

alfaromeo

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i in the most part, get my stuff at local shop here in sacramento.. but sometimes they area closed and i need some stuff to tie with
 

Gotribe

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Oh No! BPS will just destroy another great company. I used to buy from Cabela's. I even had their creditcard for the free stuff. Now they suck so bad I don't even buy from them anymore. Customer service is gone.
Cabela’s is mostly a clothing store these days. Sad.
 

cooutlaw

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It's funny, I don't now how many remember but we had a similar thread here years back when BP acquired Cabelas. Cabelas, many may recall, started as fly tying business out of a garage, that then began supplying hunting gear too, BP was a good ole boy southern business that cut it's growth teeth on Saturday morning Bass Fishing Shows and then sponsored B.A.S.S. (Bass Anglers Sportman's Society) tournament fishing....warm water fishing and conventional tackle were it's bread a butter.....Johnny Morris submersed the company early on in the community of the popular Bass fishing days....smart yes....it was the late 1970's and early 1980's and Bass Fishing was becoming the way professional fisherman made decent money....the tournaments, etc. were highly publicized.....sponsorships were everywhere....Look what happened with Ranger boats, and Bass Tracker stuff during that period.....Flippin Arkansas became a known location.....Bagley's, Rapala, Rebel lures, Mann's Jelly Worms (Tom Mann)....Pro's were made, sponsorships, brands flourished and BP went for the ride. Cabela's was a mid-west family owned staple outfitter....often a destination trip in the late 1980's and all through the 1990's....parking lots packed, people arriving in masses, packing a store for hours of shopping, families with 3 and 4 carts of stuff before the next "season" opened....often adjacent to hotels that were filled with customers spending the night after the voyage trip to Cabelas. Neither of these entities ever really were dedicated to fly fishing.....Cabelas, arguably, was more hunting focused, and also sold some fishing and outdoor gear and BP was a giant conventional fishing presence...that also sold some outdoor and hunting gear. Sportsman's was the "little guy" that had decent products and focused on the demographics of their local market....a CO Sportsmans near me has twice the fly fishing department of a Cabelas within 7 miles of it or a Bass Pro within 12 miles of it. Cabelas, after the acquisition, became so removed from anything before that it's nearly unrecognizable......Bass Pro literally replaced their inventory, and other than basic clothing and outdoor gear, the inventory is now literally estranged for CO....they have an isle of tree stands (less than 3% of Colorado hunters use a stand which is, at least restricted, and sometimes prohibited by regulations for use in most wildlife areas unless the hunter owns the property).....they have almost zero upland bird hunting stuff (we border KS and NE and Eastern CO is a bird hunting destination too)....they have isles of Bass fishing stuff......half an isle of rubber/plastic baits, and Trout and Walleye are the two primarily sought after species here....bass are accidentally part of a few local lakes at best. They have mostly wetland waterfowl gear.....and well let's just say CO isn't Louisiana - I'm not sure any waterfowler in CO history has used a boat, let alone a mud buddy swamp motor....it's all leased pits and ground blinds here...decoys are set in corn and hay fields. It's literally 25-50% of the inventory one might find in a store located 1000 miles east of here...not at all useful to CO, it might as well be a clothing store that sells some camping gear, ammo and guns. Bass Pro literally put mirrored inventories into all locations....not at all demographically specific....senior leadership should literally be ashamed of themselves. At least half the Cabelas employees quit in the store nearest me. The Cabelas acquisition and now the Sportsmans acquisition is, to me, akin to Daimler buying out Dodge/Chrysler and Volvo holding Ford Ownership.....nothing "Good" can come of it. Most don't want a German Mercedes alternator or transmission on their Dodge Pickup....or a Swedish Volvo electrical system on their Ford.....sure it's now a global economy, and if we look at BP, we just might see a good portion of the company held off-shore...but regardless these are bean counter decisions and moves....and it's all about these stores becoming "warehouses" with which to ship from for their online sales....yes you can still "visit" a location in person, but the store locations are "fulfillment centers" ala Amazon.....closest store with item ships customers online order...all stores holding the same inventory....the real story will unfold when they close locations to streamline costs....it was simply easier to acquire existing locations, hold them under multiple known brands for customer loyalty, synchronize inventories for maximum profitability, and then close any locations that don't meet profitability expectations and lease them out or sell off the properties....recoup a portion of acquisition costs and have no need for warehousing for distribution.

To this point....if there was ever a time to support independent businesses that exist as specialized expertise of product locations it's now. With a caveat.....the independents need to seriously wake up to the fact that they will live of die by their ability to service customers beyond that of their other competitors....to adjust their strategies of marketing and customer acquisition and retention, and understand that in-stock availability trumps pricing any day of the week. 20 years ago, a customer might very well order an item from a vendor.....today, they hit another website where the item is in stock, and in today's world of immediate gratification.....a $10 price spread has little to any significance to the average consumer. The reason the big box stores win....all of them, Walmart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot......pick one.....is because the consumer can get the item they seek without delay......if they cannot insure walk-in, in-person availability.....they just stay home and order online......Bass Pro is covering both scenarios, walk-in, or order online the stores are the warehouses and fulfillment centers. And that kids, is why they are scarfing up competitors locations. They are buying warehouse space that already is profitable and pays it's own rent. Aaaahhhh the miracle of e-commerce effects on retail strategy in the 2000's.
 

JoJer

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I bought my first pair of neoprene waders (and a float tube) in the 80's at a local sporting goods store-small corner lacation with wooden floors- that's now a bank. The local store grew big and had little competion. They had lots of clothing the last time I went in there. They went bad because their service was awful. Twice I went in there, with cash in my pocket and instead of helping me find what I wanted, I was insulted and ignored; "Nobody uses those anymore". Most folks who remember this place have a similar story. The last time I was in there inspired my first mail order (for a riflescope).
When I was involved with the youth hunt program we often got some support from both Cabela's and Sport'smans Warehouse. The level of support and assistance was much greater from SW and I went there more and more. I dropped a comment card when I noticed that SW had spent signifigant time cleaning up and organizing the FF section. I got a nice signed letter and a $10 discount card from the manager.
When Cabela's opened here I got some nice deals on ammo and other stuff but that didn't last. I bought two pairs of boots from them that are probably the best I've ever owned. You can't buy those boots there anymore. But they hired most of the knowledgeable sports store employees with big promises and those guys were gone in less than a year. Couple of years after that, most of the tying stuff was gone from the FF section. Since the merger, the bargain cave is gone and I don't have reason to go there anymore.
 

Unknownflyman

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The Cabela`s by my place is one of the few spots close by to get a deer hunting license, and that's all I need them for, if that. They are just buying another chain to pump up investors and then profit take the whole thing.
 

jjcm

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I might well feel differently if I owned or worked in a fly shop, but I too wonder how much these big boxes really affect small/traditional fly shops. To me they tend to cater to different customer bases.

Now in terms of the big boxes, my only familiarity was with Cabela's pre-BPS merger. For customers focused solely on price, I understand the attraction. Their house brand rods, reels and other items cost less than those made by gear companies. But the gear made by other companies that they stocked--off hand I recall some Sage, Redington and TFO rods, Lamson reels, Fishpond gear bags, Rio and SA fly lines--were sold at the same prices as found everywhere else. And at least at my Cabela's they wouldn't even allow you to test cast a rod--though with their liberal return policy I guess you could buy it, cast in the parking lot and immediately return it. Anyway, I get that people with a casual interest in fly fishing may opt for the big box just because they're easier to find with their big signs and high traffic area locations, but I don't think they offer a price advantage (beyond house brand items), their selection is limited to a few brands and, in my experience, they don't offer the service or expertise of traditional shops. And would those casual/infrequent fly fishers have sought out the small shop anyway? Perhaps.

Anyways, I'm just not sure how many avid (for lack of a better term) fly fisherman spend their money at big boxes (which charge sales tax) over traditional shops. I would think the much bigger threat to traditional shops are similar shops out of state with good websites and free shipping policies. Hard to make a go of it if just selling flies, leaders and other low cost items. But I could be completely off base, and the big box impact much greater than I imagine.
Lots of the local fly shops in my area are friendly and helpful. It’s nice to get the latest river news and connect with people who really care about rivers and fish.

Free shipping and no sales tax does make the online shops quite appealing, especially in high tax states.
 
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frickerdog

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Today was my first visit ever to a Bass Pro Shop store. I had to drop my daughter off at college and wanted to break up the trip on the ride home. The store I visited was in Bridgeport, CT. Roamed around for about 20 minutes and that’s the last time I will ever visit one of their stores.
 

JDR

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I am lucky to have at least four fly shops near me. One is an Orvis shop, so it doesn't fit into the small, dedicated, owner/operator type of business as the other three. And, I agree that we are much better served by the small shops than any big box store. But, I have seen and experienced how those small fly shops can make it difficult to do business there.
A small, local shop often has to overcome the "clubhouse" attitude. That same shop that welcomes regulars to stand around, chat, and act like they are members of a special group is usually very intimidating to someone who is trying to get started. Many fly fishers have an attitude of superiority that is sometimes amplified in smaller shops.
I don't feel comfortable if I feel like I am interrupting a group of friends so I can get some information. I don't like it, when the chatter stops and everyone looks at you, sizing you up. And most infuriating is when you ask a question and someone has a little smile smirk that lets you know you have failed their test. Even if the staff try to pay attention to you, there is the feeling that they are just entertaining their friends.
 

frickerdog

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It's funny that my current visits to some fly shops remind me of my off-season visits to surf shops when I was in my late 20's. I was an occasional surfer, but not "in" with the surf crowd because I got into it later than most of them and had to work, which lessened available surfing opportunities. I lived across the street from one of the small surf shops where the surfers hung out. When I would go in there to look at clothes or gear in the off-season, it was like I was invading their world. I feel like I am getting that same look at some fly shops, but the dudes staring me down are older, paler, balder and fatter.
 
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