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Fly Shops: "Where the Service Is"

April 17, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, John Hayes raises some now old but still-interesting questions about the future of personal service in fly fishing gear sales. Are the eight percent of U.S. anglers who fish with flies spending their $805 million in fly shops, or are they buying online — where despite what Hayes reports an unofficial discounting system seems firmly established? American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) president Gary Berlin is confident that the need for localized information will continue to drive buyers smaller fly shops. “‘Fifty-five point six percent of total fly-fishing sales are made in single-location shops, and another 36.7 percent are at multiple-location shops, excluding national chains,’ he said. ‘It’s loyalty to their favorite specialty retailers who know the current water temperatures, what the hatch is and what to use on local streams.'”