November 22nd, 2004

Cross-over Shops?
By James Castwell

For the past few years many fly shops have gone out of business. Many really probably should not have been started anyway. Some were a result of the 'movie' and were not run by folks with the necessary business background.

Some that started then are still up and running, still selling the lines of goods they started with. Good for them, they must have figured out 'Business 101' and 'Advanced Customer Service' too.

Some have made another choice. They let go of the self-anointed 'guru' status of being an elitist "Fly Shoppe" and have expanded. With what? Spinning gear and casting stuff. It was perfectly alright for the regular fishing tackle shops to add fly gear, why not the reverse? Pride I guess. Most guru's would not even admit they knew what a spinning rod was, let alone carry one in the shop. Where do most fly-fishers come from? Of course, from bait-casting and spinning. That is why many rod makers do make rods for both styles.

Most reputable rod-makers will build you a rod of either type also. What is so wrong with spinning? Is it still alright to use a spinning rod after one has "seen the light?" After you have "advanced" to fly fishing is it wrong to "go back?" Would that be slipping, down-and-dirty, over to the dark side, back-sliding, sinful, immoral, fattening? All of the above? By some standards I guess it would, but not mine.

Even though this is a fly fishing site that does not mean we can not talk about spinning when it is appropriate. And it is appropriate for many fly shops to add that or go under. Start your customers on spinning. You will make it easier for the new guy to get started, get out and get fish and remember you as the guy who got him going. Think he will be back when he is ready for a fly rod? Most likely. But, not if you don't sell spinning gear. That spinning gear just might help a guy get his wife and kids started in fishing too. Everybody starts somewhere.

Some of us call these shops 'cross-over' shops. Seems to be a name accepted by most of the industry. A shop which sells the necessary gear to allow a person to cross over from one type of fishing to another. There are shows for these type of shops too, big ones each year. This type of operation allows an owner to diversify his product line and not only provide goods to a wider range of customers, but often more items to each one as well.

I think the future will see an increase in this type of marketing for most of us. It may just make it easier for those who are still sneaking through the bushes with a spinning rod on occasion. It might be a good idea to also think about these guys the next time you need some gear. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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