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freightor 11-04-2003 04:44 PM

Powell Fly Rods Is Selling Direct
I just saw a post on Dan Blanton's bulliten board that has a press release that says that Powell Fly Rods is selling their rods factory direct at wholesale prices with a 30 day money back guarantee.

If true, this could be a good move for all of us.

See Ya.


loco_alto 11-04-2003 05:43 PM


This could mean the end of flyshops, or at least contribute to it, if all major manufacturers did this. I do buy a lot of used stuff -- but I don't like this.

Dble Haul 11-04-2003 06:08 PM

Ditto....I don't like the precedent that this sets, and the little business guys could suffer greatly if other companies follow suit.

freightor 11-04-2003 06:20 PM

I like it
I can see your point but I think this is a move that many folks are wanting.

I think this is good for high quality USA made rods for us consumers.

I mean why would you not buy a superior 700 rod for wholesale??

In addition, this won't put the little guy out, this will make him have to provide better service, but I guess they said this about Dell as well.


flytyer 11-04-2003 06:40 PM

Lest we forget, it has only been a few short years that Powell sold rods through shops. For nearly all of the company's 80 years it has sold its rods exclusively directly to the customer. And most people want to cast the rods they are going to buy before plunking down the cash; therefore, I don't see this making much difference to shops. It does mean that Powell will sell fewer rods and will not have to keep many of them in stock as completed rods. Also, I really don't see Powell selling the rods direct at true wholesale to the consumer, anymore than Dell sells computers at true wholesale.

loco_alto 11-04-2003 06:46 PM

best to let this play itself out before I point fingers.

Greg Pavlov 11-04-2003 08:58 PM


This could mean the end of flyshops, or at least contribute to it, if all major manufacturers did this. I do buy a lot of used stuff -- but I don't like this.

It could be that Powell does not believe it can continue unless it does this.

Eddie 11-04-2003 09:49 PM

It's a tough time for most erveryone. Powell is offereing a great deal. I hope they do well.
Tim, Welcome. We look forward to your continued intrest and participation in the Forum.

freightor 11-05-2003 08:18 AM

not the end just something new
I think we all saw this comming as did the computer industry. Many folks will continue to shop at fly shops, however many folks do not want to nor do they have the time. This is a great opportunuty for folks that want a good product made in the USA at a great price, however many of fly shops will continue to do well. The one's that do not will be because of their own business practices and possibly the economy.


Steelheader69 11-07-2003 11:32 AM

Apples and Oranges
You can't compare fishing industry to the computer industry. The time that computers have been around to the open market compared to fishing is a moot point. Especially being someone who has had to be front lines of this damned "direct sales" thing.

With Dell, or Gateway, etc, it is a comparitively new industry. Computers have been around for awhile, but a good workable computer hasn't been out to the public affordably until the last decade or so. Only Apple/Mac's I was ever able to see were at school, and never allowed to touch. Makes alot more sense for them to go direct. Why? Because of the shipping/handling costs. Ever ponder how much shipping plays a part in this industry? They don't have to go through all the hassle to bulk ship a "set" amount to a certain distributor. They build when they want, and then can fix prices that way (and yes, Dell cuts prices, but still pretty much making same money because they don't have the inshop markup). But, guess what? How many Dell computers do you think I see returned, or have customers who have problems with them? Well over half. But, the one big difference between a computer and fishing rod is availabitilty. Chances are, you can find someone close by who has "new stuff", or still find a shop nearby who has it. You can get a feel for it that way. Plus, in end, takes less to build a computer (I know, I've built one and I'm a layman if you ever saw one with computers). Someone who knows what they're doing can take the parts and put it together fast. Since Dell doesn't have "in house" production of parts, that I know of. Chances are, they only assemble what they have shipped in.

BUT, a flyrod is a different beast. So many more companents then "plug and play". If you have a favorite line you like to use, with a certain action rod. Well, chances are, if you buy one direct, you could be SOL. Powell's "fast action" could be similar to others mod/fast action. This is an example mind you. Well, the line you have (which everyone knows there isn't much of a standard in line construction either) won't load the rod the way you like. Plus, I don't know many people at all who own Powells. So trying to find someone close to me that has the model I want to try out will be tough (normally, if I can't test from a shop, I'll test someone who has one, but I prefer to water test, not grass test). Personally, I feel it's more of a "cutting costs" aspect of possibly a company that may be downsliding, IMHO. Basically, you would produce as needed. Which means not producing a ton of rods that shops buy. Which cuts down personal needed to produce them. I've seen this many times before (one bonus of working for a shipping company, you see more behind the scenes then those who only walk through the front doors). I get to know my customers, and also find the inside scoop. So far, the majority of companies that have done similar (and, have dealt with tackle companies through my job as well) are downsizing to try and bring profits up. But, anyone associated with a company doing this, will not say "we're dying/losing money". Chances are they'll make a plea with the consumer that they are "their friend and saving them money". Easy way to gain sympathy and get guys trying to save a buck to buy into this.

But, I don't know Powell, except for the exceptional cane rods he once produced. But from what I've read, the Powell family no longer owns it anyways. So I have no idea who the newer owners are running the company, nor do I know much about their newer products. So have no idea what their plans are. I can only assume from what I've seen in my business dealings and judge that way. Hopefully, the new Powell is doing this for the customer. But I won't hold my breath until all the cards are on the table.

nevada caster 11-08-2003 09:19 AM

Which shops carry Powells?
Are there any shops in your area that stock Powells? None in mine do. They carry the Scotts, Sage, Winston, etc. Perhaps Powell has no option.
Further with a 30 day guarantee, I can't see how you could loose. You should be able to adequately test it in 30 days. With this discount, youshould be able to afford a new line.

Moonlight 11-08-2003 10:18 AM

New Owner...
I have several older EC Powells and the Great Grandson of EC refinished one of them for me. At the time he did Powell Rod was going through a transition of ownership and he was about to leave the company, as I recall he told me that Charles Schwabb had purchased the rod builder. I always thought that was strange but hey Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway owns Ginzu Knifes. After all its just bussiness!
69er your right on the mark on the older cane Powells being great rods, I have been informed that the Grandson is now making the same tapers and the same quality on his own. Not sure what the brand name is but I think I will get one this year or next depending on the wait list.;)

Steelheader69 11-08-2003 04:15 PM

Moonlight, you're right
I do believe it was Schwab that bought it out. I would love to own a nice steelhead bamboo rod by him, if the grandson is making them like granddad did. Heard NOTHING but high praises for them. In fact, have a friend who has one, BRAND NEW, never fished that his Grandfather had bought and he inherited it. I'm still trying to talk him out of it. :D But don't think it'll happen in the pricerange I would like. :hehe: But it's a beauty. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it's only a year old, not like 50 years old. It's that nice of shape.

Well, the only problem with a 30 day try it. Most won't ship it back. Especially when it comes to rods. Most "30 day" trials INCLUDES day it was shipped and ends 30 days from that point. Companies like to pull tricks that way. I know, I've had to deal with returns of the like (not rods, but other products) and heard all the bitching and complaining from customers who didn't realize it was that way. But some, just say "screw it" and keep the product. It's paid for, and they will try and pawn on someone else. Trust me on this. Much different when you have to rebox up, and then ship off, then taking back to a fly shop. Heck, I've even seen people who were NOT given credit, since they didn't pack the product up properly. Was damaged on delivery. And they were out the product AND refund. We weren't at fault because of faulty packaging (box was perfect, but product was left bouncing around inside). Most don't want to deal with that at all. So, time will tell. I personally know, most don't want to take something like this home unless they don't pay for it until they decide to keep it. Sucks having to wait for a credit back. I would never do it personally. I think it's working in the shipping industry for 15 years and seeing what happens ALL the time that has scourned me over this type of process.

nevada caster 11-08-2003 04:29 PM

30 day trial
Charles Schwab used to own Powell rods, and recently sold it to one of their emplyees. I believe that he is a very well know and respected rod designer who designed most of the East Branch rods. I have not had the opportunity to cast on of the new Powells, but I have heard good things about them.
It is pretty easy to find out the ground rules before you try out a rod. If asked, reputable companies will easily give you an extension if you have a good reason.

I think that this is an interesting development. Not many items are fair traded anymore as are rods and reels. A little competition might get prices where they should be. I think that fly shops should stay in business because of good support and services, not a fair trade subsidy.

flytyer 11-08-2003 08:06 PM


Lest we forget (and I'm aware that many of us do not know this because we were born after buying top quality rods in shops became the norm) that until the late 1960's-early 1970's quality rods were bought directly from the manufacturer. And you had to pay for the rod upfront and then wait the 3 months to 2 years before it got to your hands from the time you ordered it.

The two friends I had that owned shops (they are both retired now) sold everything from tying thread at $1.00/spool to high end rods at $500.00+. Guess what they made the majority of their yearly profits on? Right, the fly tying materials, waders, fly lines, leaders, flies, clippers, etc. In other words, the vast majority of their yearly income was not from rod sales.

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