Prior to opening Western Rivers Flyfisher a shop owner was open minded enough to sit down with me for an interview on the prospects of the fly-fishing business. The simple fact that this shop owner sat down with me, when most shop owners declined to be interviewed, speaks volumes to his character. His name was Gary Sandstrom, owner of
Fortunately, this wasn’t our last encounter. In this small world we stumble through we unexpectedly crossed paths some years later at the end of a long corridor in a
To date I’ve never spent a week with such a group of pranksters. Morning one the vultures in his group had descended upon their first victim. They had Crazy Glued the poor guys rod tube zipper shut. While everyone else was ready to hit the flats, this angler was frantically attempting to extricate his entombed rods.
As the pranks piled up
Small world we live in. To this day, I always get a smile on my face when I think of this week. I know I've never laughed so hard on a trip thanks to Gary and his traveling band of pranksters.
That was the first time our paths crossed since our initial meeting. As ironical as that fateful journey to
The title of the piece I'd selected read;“ Support Your Local Fly Shop”. Authored by the local newspaper in disgruntlement to the recent trend of consumers seeking to save a little here and there on the internet. Or with the intrusion of Big Box and the impact they've had on our communities is often coming at the expense of specialty retailers; Support Your Local Fly Shop. Unfortunately for
Having dedicated my life to the sport and business of fly-fishing I know the effort, sacrifices and commitment that’s required to stay in business for as long as he managed. I can only imagine the gamut of emotions he must have experienced in having to close his doors. He’s not alone. Another good fly shop and acquaintance of mine is being faced with similar circumstances. After years of struggles, he’s finally decided that there are better ways to make a living. Unfortunately many of our sports passionate personalities are leaving the business of fly-fishing. But, as the editorial eludes we are losing so much more.
I witnessed this same digression in the ski industry from the 70’s and 80’s. However, the Internet and e-Bay had yet to unleash it’s lethal effects on specialty retail. Today, with the Internet, the out sourcing of manufactured goods, Big Box being fueled by our insatiable appetite for cheaper products, I can’t help but see the path of fly shops and other specialty retailers traveling down the same road.
My whole adult life I’ve been attracted to specialty services and have support their efforts. And not just fly shops. Each service bears a unique personality that's set them apart from each other. A quality in retail and in the service sector that’s becoming more difficult to find across the country as larger conglomerates homogenize our shopping experience.