I have stayed out of this one too. I have been going to one fly shop for the last 10 years which has had two owners. There are only about 6 fly shops in the Chicago area.
They know I have been fly fishing a long time so the owner and his one full time worker do not try and sell me every new thing that comes out. They let me do my shopping and then we may talk about local fishing. I have not bought a big priced item from them yet since there prices are usually at least $ 50-100+ more than what I can get things over the net. I do buy all of my fly tying materials from them though.
They are very nice and have given me some good tips on new places to fish, which they did not have to. But I believe they are trying to help the anglers and this is a good customer support intangible which may bring anglers back for repeat purchases.
No one is going to get rich running a fly shop so most that do this must be dedicated to the sport.
If I win the lottery maybe a fly shop would be a good tax writeoff and provide a fun job.