Let’s face it not many of us expected the novel Corona Virus to take our country by storm shutting down all non-essential businesses, encouraging social distancing, self quarantining, and limiting travel. It happened and it happened very fast. I mean it all does make sense, if we do our part we can flatten the curve, reducing the spread of the virus, allowing our healthcare systems a little more room to breathe. But our economy will suffer especially small businesses like fly shops and staff working at the fly shops.
Many fly shops across the nation have shut their brick and motor retails stores and are left with no way to bring in any sort of revenue. Other fly shops have set up creative ways to capture customer’s business. At this point we really don’t know how long this might last, the longer it does the more likelihood of many fly shops having to close down for good. So to prevent that from happening what are some ways that we can support our local fly shops?
1. Curbside Pickup Phone Orders
Fly shops across the nation have begun to offer “curbside” services. Where you can call ahead and purchase items over the phone. The fly shop will prepare the items for you and deliver them to you when you pull out front. Some fly shops are even offering home delivery for certain orders.
The owner of the Silver Bow Fly Shop in Spokane, Washington Sean Visintainer stated:
“With a rapidly changing business and social environment, we are here to support the angling community while respecting their space and health. We deeply appreciate phone and online orders during these tough economic times and encourage anglers to support their local fly shops by calling in orders, purchasing from their online stores, and share/tag their home shops to help promote them. We will all get passed this together!” #flyshopstrong
2. Shop Their Online Store
Not all fly shops have online stores but the ones that do you can support during these times of social distancing. If you have been saving up for a new setup this year, now is the time to purchase one from your local shop. You can browse many fly shops full inventory online and most shops have free shipping if you spend more than $50.00-100.00.
Some online fly shops have been able to discount gear that they normally cannot. Andy Leister from Vail Valley Anglers stated, “We want to thank Patagonia for recognizing the upfront hit the entire outdoor industry is taking financially and allowing us to go on sale with their entire line of world-class products.
Our online store is the only way we are able to stay in business for the near future and purchasing through us, rather than Amazon or direct, is supporting our ability to serve the fly fishing public for the future. Thank you for your kindness and support during these incredibly difficult times.”
In Summit County, Colorado, Cutthroat Anglers Fly Shop is “allocating 30% of all online sales to their year-round shop staff as long as the retail space remains closed” according to owner Ben McCormick.
Our friends over at Trouts Fly Fishing sent this over:
“With the Denver Stay at Home Order in effect, we’ve moved to ONLINE SALES only through April 10th. With everything that’s going on, we want to be there for all of our customers and help them escape whether it be through Live Streaming relevant angling content or getting them ready for a responsible day on the water with gear or some of our River or Species-Specific Staff Picked Fly Collections. We’ve got a lot of streaming content coming up in the next three weeks and we’re even launching a quarantine inspired podcast next week, as well.”
3. Buy a Gift Card
Say you don’t really know what you need for gear right now or want to get your special someone a gift amidst the social distancing. Maybe get into to fly tying..? There is no better time to buy a gift card from your local shop. Why? Most shops are offering specials where you will often receive up to 20% off or in rebates with any gift card purchase. It’s a great way to support the shop in times of not a lot of revenue coming through the business.
Aaron Alexander of St. Petes Fly Shop in Fort Collins sent over the following message:
“Things seem to change by the day, even the hour, but we are trying to adapt…keeping the health and well-being of our great community first. We are “open” to online orders, email orders, and phone orders, for everything from gift cards (pictured above) to gear to essentials. With each of these outlets, we are still able to provide that personal touch and customer care that we so highly value, and our customers deserve. Our customers and friends are always there for us, so we’ll be there for you!”
4. Book a Guided Trip [For a later date]
Many of us are already planning our summer, fall, and even winter fly fishing trips. If you know you are going to be visiting a certain area and want to fish with your favorite guide, now is the time to book. Many shops have flexible cancellation policies just like many of the airline carriers. Take advantage of this. And if you want your favorite guide it may be smart to book now as many of the current trips have been pushed to later dates. So take that into account when booking. If you are flying to your destination there is probably no better time to book a flight either.
5. Give them a 5 Star Online Review
If your one of the millions of people that have recently been laid off and don’t have any savings for fly fishing gear, one way to support your local shop is to help boost their online presence by giving them an online review. Most of us are looking for stuff to do at home, this is one task that takes 5-10 minutes at most. If you have a google account you can simply google your favorite shop and their business listing should come up and you can click “Write a Review”. Facebook, Trip Advisor, and Yelp are other online sites you can review your shop.
What Not To-do:
Now might now be the best time to buy direct or on Amazon. Our local economies will benefit from shopping locally, so seek out your local fly shop and support them.
Without a fly shop, the base of the angling community in that area will be lost. They are so vitally important to anglers and the fly fishing community. Let’s put our heads together as anglers and support the industry that we all do love. #flyshopstrong
Cover photo from the @silverbowflyshop.