After a long conversation with an outdoor buyer at ICAST I was left with the conclusion that within 10 years most neighborhood fly shops would close. According to this buyer, people don’t take the time to stop off at institutions that have been around for decades and have limited selections of product. They’ll head to “outdoor store A” for their waders, boots and then happen across the new “fly shop” they’ve started. Shopper will then speak with a new face that claims to be an expert. The flaw with this, they’re NOT! They may have experience guiding (even though the “shop” doesn’t provide guide services); they may tie a beautiful Green Highlander Fly, and can sell you on the major points of why LOOP Tackle is the last brand you’ll ever purchase in a new fly reel.
What is missing; the person who started this neighborhood shop when they were a young buck because they wanted to fish for a living. That lifelong love of fishing has translated into a breadth of knowledge and skill you can’t find at “outdoor store A.” Don’t take my word for it. Take it from Peter Brooks, guest columnist at The North Virginian Daily, in his article “Eye for Idaho Trout.” When you experience service and knowledge like this, there will always be a place for the neighborhood fly shop.