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#12156231 - 03/24/17 10:58 AM Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail
texasflycaster Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/18/08
Posts: 1565
Loc: Water
I guess we all heard that Sears is saying they are no longer a "going concern," and that got me thinking about the big picture of our retail fly fishing sources. I did a little thinking and reading (always dangerous), and recalled my minor in US economic history, to come up with an insanely long article on the topic - https://texasflycaster.com/shots-fired-big-box-fly-fishing-retail-life-support/. It's my opinion, but I wonder how you guys see this playing out? It's a free read for the next 24-hours. There might be a surprise, or two, here. (Move it to another board if you need to Mr. Moderator!)
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#12156255 - 03/24/17 11:07 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: texasflycaster]
keebranch Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 04/01/07
Posts: 1351
Loc: Arlington, TX
Shannon,
you wrote:
Locally, Backwoods in Fort Worth, Texas, ceased operating as a going concern earlier this year. It should be noted that Backwoods Fort Worth is just one of the retail locations for that company, and no matter what, Backwoods did not fail because of its people on the floors. It failed the way the vast majority of businesses fail – bad management at the top.
To be fair, they never ceased operations. A local investor group in Ft Worth has purchased the whole chain out of bankruptcy and will continue to operate backwoods locally in a new location on Foch Street as well as 3 or 4 other stores in other cities. Stephen Woodcock the fly fishing manager mentioned that the new owners are fly fisherman themselves and are looking to expand that end of the business. So the story isn't over- just a new chapter in my opinion.

Les
_________________________
http://ultralightflyfishing.com
Lightliner & creek fisherman

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#12156493 - 03/24/17 02:06 PM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: keebranch]
Smurfs Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/31/14
Posts: 2657
Loc: Fort Worth
Originally Posted By: keebranch
Shannon,
you wrote:
Locally, Backwoods in Fort Worth, Texas, ceased operating as a going concern earlier this year. It should be noted that Backwoods Fort Worth is just one of the retail locations for that company, and no matter what, Backwoods did not fail because of its people on the floors. It failed the way the vast majority of businesses fail – bad management at the top.
To be fair, they never ceased operations. A local investor group in Ft Worth has purchased the whole chain out of bankruptcy and will continue to operate backwoods locally in a new location on Foch Street as well as 3 or 4 other stores in other cities. Stephen Woodcock the fly fishing manager mentioned that the new owners are fly fisherman themselves and are looking to expand that end of the business. So the story isn't over- just a new chapter in my opinion.

Les


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_________________________
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God





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#12156676 - 03/24/17 04:31 PM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: texasflycaster]
1960texan Offline
Angler

Registered: 11/09/15
Posts: 460
Loc: Knee deep in the Guadalupe.
Hi Shannon, you make some good points in this article, and while brick and mortar stores will continue to adapt or die, I don't think we'll see them disappear entirely. One of the points you touched on in this article was the social aspect of fly shops. Not to mention that people new to the sport will always have a million little questions, and the best way for those questions to be answered (IMHO) is in person.

We've all met some knowledgable, good people working the counter at the big box retailers, but we've also had our share of needing answers when the only person available was just there for a paycheck.

So I imagine that the BIG BOX brick and mortars will continue to close, but that's alright, too. The local, independent places may be a little more expensive, but they also have more skin in the game and outright passion for the sport. Nature abhors a vacuum, and as the big box places close I think we'll see more mom and pops take their place.
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#12157314 - 03/25/17 07:33 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: texasflycaster]
karstopo Offline
Angler

Registered: 05/22/16
Posts: 310
Loc: Brazoria County
I like buying my fly fishing and fly tying gear and materials online. I just ordered fly rod and reel number 10 or so from an online retailer like every other rod and reel I've purchased. I love fly fishing and tie and fish the flies I tie and catch a big variety of fish with my flies. It just now occurs to me that I haven't ever enjoyed going into dedicated fly fishing stores. I try once in a while to check out a fly fishing retailer. Recently, I went to one and tried out one of the rods they had. I was kind of enjoying the process until the fellow helping me kept insisting on giving me casting lessons (I was doing just fine on my own). I didn't ask for a lesson. Maybe I'm just unlucky with my limited forays into brick and mortar fly fishing stores. When I was just getting into tying, I went to a retailer and took a short series of classes. In truth, I learned a lot more watching YouTube videos of tying. Maybe someday I'll find a fly fishing brick and mortar store I connect with. Until then, there are plenty of online sources that I'm very happy to deal with.

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#12157419 - 03/25/17 09:33 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: karstopo]
Meadowlark Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3024
Loc: East Texas
Originally Posted By: karstopo
... Maybe someday I'll find a fly fishing brick and mortar store I connect with. Until then, there are plenty of online sources that I'm very happy to deal with.



x2. In fact, I buy just about everything fishing related online...fly and conventional.

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#12157429 - 03/25/17 09:46 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: texasflycaster]
texasflycaster Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/18/08
Posts: 1565
Loc: Water
What would make a store connect better with you - karstopo and Meadowlark?

Consider me corrected on the Backwoods portion of their demise. I wish them all the luck in the world. If they don't change, they will need a lot of luck - IMO. Maybe Mr. Woodcock will read this, as always, and glean from karstopo and Meadowlark - what changes could aid success in the new chapter of Backwoods. I think I was clear on what local guides would like to see more of from local mom-and-pops. I want EVERYBODY'S boats to float!

I sure would like to know more about who bought Backwoods! I can't find anything in the records, except the CH11 filings.


Edited by texasflycaster (03/25/17 09:58 AM)
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#12157501 - 03/25/17 11:03 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: texasflycaster]
karstopo Offline
Angler

Registered: 05/22/16
Posts: 310
Loc: Brazoria County
I think if I lived closer to a fly fishing store I'd probably pop in more. I see a new place is about to open in Houston, Gordy and Son I think it is. They are going to have a casting pond. Maybe I'll check it out.

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#12159809 - 03/27/17 08:56 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: texasflycaster]
texasflycaster Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/18/08
Posts: 1565
Loc: Water
I think it would be difficult to ask any brand new mom-and-pop to support a fly regular fly tying event and dedicate part of a store to the materials. ON THE OTHER HAND, I saw that Living Waters is building a new building from scratch, down in Round Rock, Texas. That is truly amazing. I always thought demographics dictate the popularity of fly tying.
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TEXAS FLY CASTER
Professional Photography
-DUENDE-

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#12160111 - 03/27/17 11:26 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: texasflycaster]
FishBeeLowMe Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 6503
Loc: Texas
Good read! I grew up in an Oregon Town of 3,000! That small town had 3 fly shops in 1980. 1985 there were none! Fly Shops will have to adapt to the world wide web, or go out of business! Walk in business will not carry a fly shop! The fly fishing trade does a great job marketing to Fly Shops, Big Box Stores, and direct website sales! Simms sells the same products at the same prices, and makes sure their MAP guidelines are followed! U will see me more in the fly fishing / tying sections! Trying to spend more time with the fly rod and more time in Oregon! Had a fishing lure business for 8 years, now I'm semi-retired smile

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#12160147 - 03/27/17 11:43 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: texasflycaster]
D Miner Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 207
I am thinking that the people that run Living Waters have another business who's profits helps subsidize the fly shop.

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#12161690 - 03/28/17 08:20 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: texasflycaster]
karstopo Offline
Angler

Registered: 05/22/16
Posts: 310
Loc: Brazoria County
The only thing you can't do online that you can do in a store is put your hands on the material, if they have it in stock. You can typically get a hundred reviews online and maybe one or two at the store. I haven't arranged any fly fishing travel or hired guides but that can be done via emails, websites, or on the phone, no store need be in the picture.

I'm all for shopping local, but if the closest store is 50 miles, that doesn't seem very local. I see maybe one other fly fisherman in 30 outings. I still fish with my bait caster/lure using friends. They are only minimally interested in the fly scene. One friend had an instructor yell at him the whole time during a lesson he took to learn how to cast. He's burned on fly fishing for life. Another friend tried it after seeing me go at it, but bought some bad gear that quickly fell apart in the salt water environment.

I don't think fly fishing will ever be mainstream. Maybe in certain locations. Around where I fish, I still get the "what's he doing here with the fly rod" comments. It seems like a big hill to climb to see more fly shops around. It may be for those business guys that do it for a labor of love or just have a lot of internet savvy or in specialized locations.

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#12161926 - 03/28/17 10:35 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: karstopo]
Floon Swenson Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 09/06/16
Posts: 828
Originally Posted By: karstopo
One friend had an instructor yell at him the whole time during a lesson he took to learn how to cast. He's burned on fly fishing for life.


Sometimes the cast, and the caster, have to be torn down to the dirt before they are rebuilt with any usefulness.

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#12161928 - 03/28/17 10:37 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: texasflycaster]
Floon Swenson Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 09/06/16
Posts: 828
I had about a dozen rods broke over my back while I was learning. Still have the scars. Lost that tailing loop, though.

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#12161973 - 03/28/17 11:11 AM Re: Sears Makes Me Think Fly Fishing Retail [Re: Floon Swenson]
karstopo Offline
Angler

Registered: 05/22/16
Posts: 310
Loc: Brazoria County
Originally Posted By: Floon Swenson
I had about a dozen rods broke over my back while I was learning. Still have the scars. Lost that tailing loop, though.



I went the way of book, YouTube and DVD instruction. Lots of good material out there to learn to cast without enduring any aggressive or abusive casting instructors.

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