We opened our door five years ago because there wasn’t a fly shop in San Francisco. We saw the local community hurt from not being able to go in and get local advice or pick up flies, leaders, tippet - people were fishing less as a result.
-George Revel, Lost Coast Outfitters
I love going to trade shows. I love going by myself. When I’m with someone else, it’s only a matter of time before they point out, “everyone here just wants you to buy something.” That’s true, a bit. Also, everyone at the booths is likely bored out of their minds and would love the chance to talk to anyone about anything.
I came across a vintage ad years ago for fly fishing in New Zealand. That led to me to a brick and mortar shop in Denver to a guy who showed me how simple it was to get started (the simpleness is the hard part). That led me to a few mornings on the water where I fumbled about, and into other fly shops throughout the mountains with people who were ready to dish out information.
All of these people either loved to tell the stories of fish in the water, or they were bored out of their minds.
Is there a benefit to brick and mortar stores in our digital commerce era? Absolutely. As humans, we get bored with our surroundings and would like to browse what’s in that store. I think most stores could do with a counter that has some bar stools and a good conversationalist (not necessarily a salesman) behind the counter. Maybe you have a pot of coffee on (before noon) or a few cold ones at the ready (after).
A conversation about your last fishing trip and how you dropped something in the river and lost it forever leads to a discussion about gear that could resolve the problem of submersible gear.
“I don’t like it when salespeople bother me!”
No one does. But we are a population of creatures who love to talk who find themselves with fewer spaces to do so.