New Eastern Shore Maryland Fly Shop - Feedback Please
I wanted to get your feedback on an idea that I have been toying around. The eastern shore of Maryland is void of any fly fishing shop. Winchester Creek outfitters is gone and last year we saw Salisbury Fly Shop have to close it's doors. Between Baltimore and Ocean City there is no real fly fishing shop, even Joe Bruce's is gone, although he does go to Tocherman's once a week, a great shop, but for those of us over on the shore a long run. There are some excellent local fishing shops that carry a few fly fishing things, but not a speciality shop.
I have extra space at an office that I keep in Easton, MD and I've been thinking of opening a small speciality fly / light tackle fishing shop. I also have sitting around a name that could be used for the shop, Worldwide Angler. I been talking with some veterans from fly fishing industry and they've been offering some good advice and think the idea might be able to work. So here it is:
The idea would be to carry all the essentials, a great selection of flies to fish locally as well as destination locations, a great selection of fly fishing lines, a select selection of fly reels and rods at all the price points and some accessories. The same sort of selection would apply to light tackle gear, on the lure front it would have speciality lures and the inventory would be carried on a commission basis. There would be no online sales and the idea is that the shop would not in any way try to carry everything nor compete with the Walmarts of the world, but rather focus on a hand selected line of stuff. The shop would also have limited hours, ideally optimized for the prime shopping hours and have an online calendar where appointments could be made.
A twist would be that it would be an open book shop. That means on the shop site we would post our sales, sales costs, and our fixed and variable costs. We'd keep the information up to date on a bi-weekly basis for all to see. Ideally a small shop should be able to make some money, I'd say the goal would be to make $50k/year. I'll fund the shop as a start up the first few months while it gets up and going. It's up to the community to help spread the word about the shop and frequent it enough to keep it going. I'll also have to find some part time help to watch and open the shop. All part of normal business expenses.
At the end of the day I think it would be in all our best interest to have a local shop where we can pick up line, flies, and lures now and again. If it works it stays around, if it does not then no sweat, we gave it a shot.
There is no way I nor anyone running a shop like this is going to get rich off it and it's a labor of love more then anything, however we would shoot to make a profit as it's a good goal to have. I'd like to hear what you think of the idea. Nothing is set in stone, it's all in the idea stage. All feedback, positive and/or negative welcomed.
You might wish to contact Matt Rosenthal, who is seeking to sell the Beaver Creek fly Shop outside of Hagerstown. He's trout focused, of course, but may have some retail supplies and fixtures you could use. You never know... 301 393-9090, email@example.com
Thanks Don for the heads up.
The guys at Mossy Creek Fly shop in Harrisonburg, Va have also spoke of expanding. They may or may not be interested too.
Mossy Creek Fly Fishing
1790-92 East Market Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
I like it, but how have the industry insiders reacted to the consignment model (if I understand this correctly?)?
Fly In The Ointment
It is of respect and a mild concern that if I am to respond to this thread, I must do so candidly. I have a couple of questions.
(1)Is this going to be a for-profit enterprise ? If it is not a for-profit enterprise and more to the likeness of a convenience, I think there are other ways to use that office space that would achieve the same results.
I have grave concerns that a small, exclusive shop, with limited stock and hours can sustain itself. After all , the world is on the internet ordering everything and going to the forums for advice. The thing that a shop offers that a larger Walmart or BPS doesn't is personalized attention. For example, go down to Walmart and ask for a demonstration of a bimini twist.
In spite of personal service and the possiblity of buying flies not tied commercially, or custom tied, little shops are going under right and left, and across the country
So I think a for-profit enterprise on a tiny scale ain't going to do it. However there might be another way to achieve convience, do a service for the Eastern Shore and the sport of fly fishing, and dodge a few taxes.
(2) Ponder this: a non-profit school that teaches fly fishing, or fishing in general, which charges tuition, and runs the store as a supply place of materials used in those studies. Guest instructors, sponsorships by manufactuers, internet support, outreach into community events, only as much staff as can be income supported are all part of the operating possibilities. Then if the project starts to make a profit, the school can start paying rent, and shift out of non-profit status. Meanwhile, the landlord of the office space claims a donation to the non-profit, AND the space is occupied, including upkeep and general maintenance.
I think you are right to include light tackle. Fly fishing participation in salt water seems to be pretty flat after years of increase. But if you can get light tackle guys into the shop and get them interested in fly fishing, it's a win-win for the customer and the sport. I wish you luck. It's a tough business.
Brady, I tend to think you are right in your assessment of a small shop's prospects, and that is a shame really. A local shop has very frequent contact with area waters that the big box stores (at least those located nearer major population centers) probably do not. Retail sales of tackle is tough all around, and even moreso in this economy... It is just too easy anymore to shop for prices from your easy chair with point and click efficiency and convenience.
Your 'ponderings' on a biz structure also intrigue me. Times have never been tougher right here on the Yock, from every aspect.
limited hour shops have worked in some areas. It may work there. The Evening Rise in Pa. is one. As for me, I will always support local shops first. But the problem you will face, is the same one all small shops are and have been facing, is the internet. To may complain when thier local shop closes, but when asked, where they purchased thier last rod or reel. They always say the internet. As for a profit making shop. Is thier really any other reason to open a shop? The level of profit, will determine if it will last, as long as thier is an internet. Have lower prices, then somone can get on line, And it will last. Also offer to order thing in that you don't carry. Right now, I need a tip guide and a tarpon butt. I havn't orderd it, simply because of shipping costs. Its more then the two items I need. And know one likes to pay twice as much. Combinding items for a number of people, will keep shipping costs down for all. Just my opinion.
eh, The Evening Rise closed earlier this year!
Originally Posted by saltfly