Local Shop Closing [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Local Shop Closing

01-21-2006, 01:46 PM
One of our local fly shops the St Vrain Angler is closing after 15 years or so due to declining business. This is yet another example of a small customer service driven shop closing because they are unable to compete with the prices found on the internet or at big box stores. Friends and I were wondering how hard it would be to open a small local fly shop and stay in business. What capital do you need and what sort or monthly sales are required to keep the shop open. This is assuming of course that you can find a good location. I imagine that somebody on this board has experience with this. Please let me know what you think. Thanks

01-21-2006, 04:03 PM
Sorry to hear that about St. Vrain Angler. i used to shop the one in Westminster next to the old REI allot til they closed up there a while back. I suspect the new Cabella's opening up next year on I-25 was the death nail. It's been discussed before but the internet and places like Sportsman's Warehouse/Cabella's make it tough to compete, for sure. Why pay twice as much in a small flyshop when you can get the same tying materials at SW for half as much? (rhetorical)

Are you looking to open one yourself or just curious about costs? It wasn't clear to me. I can't imagine opening a shop these days. The trend is only going to get worse. You don't even need to go into shops anymore to buy a license in Colorado...it's online too!

01-21-2006, 05:55 PM
The only two shops in this area also closed recently for many of the same reasons most have. High rent and overhead seem to be the toughest hurdle. I considered buying out one that closed but after doing a business plan I felt it would have to be completely owner operated with long hours. You can also forget about going fishing for a while until the shop starts to turn a profit. Location, location, location and the ability to diversify with a clothing line, etc. for the non fishers is a must. I hope you find what you want. Do a business plan first and foremost. Talk to the owner of the shop that's closing and ask him what he would have done differently if he were to start all over again. Start small with items of neccessity in your area that can not be purchased effectivly over the internet or in catalogs. A lodge might be worth considering if you have the skills with it's own, in house flyshop, complete with guides.


01-21-2006, 09:55 PM
do a search on this site on "discounting".

01-21-2006, 10:11 PM
Hmmm... I was talking to one of the sales guys at the local fly shop and he hinted thet the shop may completely discontinue fly fishing sales. It looks like there just isn't money to be made in fly fishing anymore.

But why fly fish? It's way easier to catch fish on bait...


01-22-2006, 10:00 AM
Brad -

Sorry to hear about St.Vrain's - nice group of guys in fact I really appreciate your referring them to me for the props we used at the Denver trade show.

I wish the gang well, hope they launch into satisfying new adventures and continue to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Rocky Mtn National Park wherever they settle.

01-23-2006, 05:25 PM
High rent is tough for small operations like local fly shops and it has caused the demise of quite a few shops over the years. The big box outfits like Cabella's sell all sorts of stuff and fly fishing equipment is only a small percentage of their sales. But just think of how much worse it would be if the large operations like Cabella's were allowed to discount the high end fly fishing equipment they carry? I dunno about you all, but it makes me glad that the industry has a one price fits all for quality rods, reels, waders, lines, etc. because it allows to small pro shops to compete and stay in business, except in the high rent areas.

01-28-2006, 08:46 AM
The problems lies with the local governments that bring in the big box stores. They give them tax breaks and sometimes rent free for a term, which i think is a un-fair business practice, They come in with the promise of jobs to the community and pretty much get anything they want. This makes it harder on the small shops to compete because of their overhead. The small business man needs to be smart about the lines he carries and to advertise more, which results in long days and lots of hours after he closes to compete. Nobody says that having your own business is easy it's hard work and the family life suffers as well as your free time but if you build up a good relationships with the customers and get on the web you can surivie, aslo location,location,location is a must.

01-28-2006, 09:36 AM
I know it's hard but I think a couple of things have worked out well for small shops near big competitors -

a) knowing what you got that they don't for instance guides, workshops, claves, classes (tying, casting, etc)

b) introducing yourself to their department manager and offering a cooperative relationship that presents both in a complementary manner to the consumer, in other words hit one then hit the other (use the big store's pull like a restaurant or convenience store would)

I think when the big stores edge out the smaller shops the fisherman loses. But if they function in a complementary manner it could be good for both.

That's not to say all of these are going to be peachy, I am sure some will result in the ruin of the small shop as we see in the closings of small businesses around big store areas. This could mean that the store could not adapt it's business model to the new climate, or it could mean that the climate became too hostile.

In any case survival will require a different way of thinking and getting the consumer to have a clear picture of what the "pro shop" offers that the department store can not to coin a golf analogy.

01-28-2006, 09:56 AM
Too bad about the fly shops--always sad to see independents go out of business. Hopefully, they were able to retire gracefully as their choice instead of being forced out. I used to run a successfuly small business, and from my experience, I would definitely contact the previous owners and see why they closed. If it is due to lack of business, as you suspect, then it would be a mistake to invest much in opening a similar business yourself--unless you are doing it as a hobby and can afford it.

As far as people not fly fishing as much--fine with me. Less crowded.

01-28-2006, 10:40 AM
b) introducing yourself to their department manager and offering a cooperative relationship that presents both in a complementary manner to the consumer, in other words hit one then hit the other (use the big store's pull like a restaurant or convenience store would)

That is a super good idea. The trouble is most small shops, fishing or otherwise, threat the large stores as an antagonistic competitor rather than as a potential partner. Imagine how business could increase if the box shop would post notices about fly fishing or fly tying classes in the sporting good section next to the fly fishing equipment? Or have the employees recommend the small shop when they don't carry some item the customer needs. In most cases the small shop will be able to get items the large shop can't and that is the small shop's advantage.

The small shop has many advantages. The only real requirement is to have a friendly, outgoing sales staff rather than a curmudgeon behind the counter.

01-28-2006, 12:21 PM
At the top of my list would be henry's fork lodge; call nelson at 208.558.7953


Also the Canadian Rockies near Banff / Calgary - inquire with member Frenchcreek about that (send a PM)

If you want to try for some salmonids hook up with Brian Niska at Whistlerflyfishing.com (a sponsor) for that cool Whistler experience and some great fishing opportunities nearby.

For something completely different how about a few days at Tofino BC on the outer Vancouver Island coast fishing for feeder coho salmon among whales between soakings in the hot tubs and fine dining in the waterfront accomodations.

The lodges in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and the rest of the American west are plentiful and too numerous to list.

Let me point out something in the east... a true natural marvel called the Gaspe' peninsula where magnificent atlantic salmon are found in jewel-clear flows. The accomodations are superb in places like Glen LeGrand's Camp Bonaventure where the help outnumber the guests, first class. Our own Ann Smith of Quebec Sporting can make arrangments for you as she will be for a group of us this summer, my second time there since moving from Seattle and I can't wait.

Just to make the list complete, a winter or spring trip to Grand Bahama Island for bonefish would be a good couples outing - we are scouting things out for such a clave in the future.

01-28-2006, 03:13 PM
Sorry to hear your local shop is closing.

Incidently, Ruddick's in North Vancouver is closing too :frown:

01-28-2006, 05:05 PM
The only real requirement is to have a friendly, outgoing sales staff rather than a curmudgeon behind the counter.

cheers to that!!!!

I think one reason I don't go to many small fly shops anymore is that I get really tired of the subtle snobbery and cliqueishness present at all too many of them. The St. Vrain store in Westminster was the last local one with really friendly people in my opinion.

My dad is the same way. The only shop in his area in MD was run by snobs and he refused to go in there after a few trips. He's very old school too. He'll will absolutlely pay more and go out of his way to send business your way if he gets great service. I think allot of other people felt the same way and they went out of business last year.