Here is my $.02 worth.
What is flyshop employee worth?
To me a lot more that too most other people.
For I was one of those money grubbing flyshop owners that you hear so much about?
Yes Martha for over 50 years I ran a small ma and pa fly shop.
It was a kinder gentler time and flyfishing was more about personalizes than egos.
We dealt very little with numbers just memories.
The summers were spent taking care of the visiting flyfishers and winters tying the inventory.
If you were real lucky you broke even.
I did not buy a new car and my children did not go to collage.
This was a choice, which I made: to live a surreal life in a world with very few restrains.
It was until I called it quits that I had enough time and money to travel.
Does quality pay you bet!
Letís take a look at the Potts mite fly, the fly sold for 3 for a Dollar or $.35 each in a time when you could buy a dozen of the best quality British flies dressed by Peter Duane for $.50a dozen.
Leonard rod which ran about $200.00 ( making a rod out of bamboo took about 100 hours of time if you were fast ) and Vom Hofe reel ran around $80.00
You could rent a two-bedroom house furnished with silverware, dishes and linen for around $25.00 a month.
I must admit I have never seen a rich fly shop owner but I have seen some that were very deep in debt
Over that I have seen many great strides in the industry.
Many of these brought about by present or past flyshop employees.
The best employees were usually died in the wool guides who wanted to do nothing but flyfish; tie flies or built bamboo rod.
I have seen several prolific tiers who could and would produce over more 2000 dozen (that is only 80 flies a day if you figure he tied five days a week for 8 hours a day (for I am sure no man could live by flies alone)) a year.
These people were proud of the fact that they made their entire living from fly-fishing.
Flyfishing was once not about the big business: it was about a few people on a quest.
True we did not have to worry about stocking programs where you had to buy a inventory of high end rods each year as most shops do today.
Only to have their employees dump the excess on e-bay so the shop owner can keep them employed.
So when you cast that new graphite rod you can thank people like Jim Green, Phil Kennedy, Joe Fisher, Gary Loomis and Mike Maxwell.
Or when you casting that new line thank Joan Wulff or Leone Chambers.
Or when you tying flies think Noel Shockley, George Grant, Franz Potts, Dan Bailey just to name a few
Flyshop employees who put their best foot forward so you have the sport you have today.
To answer you question to me they are worth their weight in gold.
That is all I have to say about that.