Occasionally someone shows up in my fly shop looking for a guide with
the belief he can't get any useful information without hiring someone to
show him where to fish. Now, that might be the way it is in other
shops, but not in mine. I take a different approach to business.
If you show up in my shop looking for a place to fish, I'll hand you a
map and circle the hot spots for you. I'll also point out the public
places where anyone can fish and let you know where they've been biting
If you show up in my shop I'll hand you a list of local hatches that
details the sizes, colors and areas of the most prominent hatches. The
list will include drawings of the most prominent insects and approximate
hatch times of each on the local streams.
If you show up in my shop you'll find several magazine articles about
local streams that list pertinent information about that stream for all
to read. Someone will be near by to answer all your questions and help
you in fly or equipment selection. You'll find pages of helpful
information on fly lines, rods, leaders, tippets, insects, knots and many
other things. If you're a beginner, you'll be handed a handout loaded
with timely information to help you with equipment selection and insect
If you show up in my shop you won't have to search for someone to give
you a hand. There are times it gets busy, but someone will be there to
help you as soon as they are finished with the other customer they are
helping. You won't be ignored, no matter how you look, like you may have
been in other shops. Some of my best customers look like they need to
borrow the money for their next meal. They shop at my shop because
someone is always there to help them, and that makes a difference.
If you show up in my shop you won't find a bunch of people crowded
around a coffee pot swapping fishing lies. Sure, lies are told in vast
quantities in my shop, but there isn't a snooty "good old boys club" to
drive beginners and visitors away. The elitism of some of those folks is
enough to ruin any business.
If you show up in my shop no one will pressure you to hire a guide.
Most of the water in my area is easy to fish, and a guide isn't needed
unless you really don't know how to fish. If you need casting lessons,
you need casting lessons, not a guide. If you really need a guide, one
can be arranged, but you'll never feel pressured to hire one by the
people in my shop.
If you buy a fly fishing outfit in my shop, it will be assembled for you
and you'll receive a short lesson on how to use it before you leave. No
charge, it's part of the service that goes with the purchase. Everyone
likes to think they got something for nothing, and the short casting
lesson (about 15 to 30 minutes) is free if you do your business at my
If I happen to be going fishing and you're going fishing too, I might
invite you to join me. No, not as a guided client, just to enjoy a few
hours with me on a local stream. I'll bring my fly rod and camera. I'll
fish with you and take pictures. I would rather fish than guide, so I
won't be asking for a fee, just the right to use any pictures I take in
any ethical manner I wish to use them.
Some people have told me they were surprised at the simple attitude we
display at my shop. Some have returned many times from many miles away
to do business there because they didn't feel left out or rejected even
though they were beginners. Some have returned every year from several
distant states to do business there because they were given the helpful
advice they needed without the pressure to pay for it.
I get a lot of referrals from people who have visited my shop. People
tell me they were told to stop in and visit by others who have visited.
They claim others have said my shop is unique because we are so friendly.
Hmmm, I wonder why?
If you wonder why we have such a different approach to managing a fly
shop, it's simple. It's what I call "good business." Everyone wants to
be treated like they belong where they're at. If I treat people like
they belong, they'll come back. If the guy with the answers doesn't try
to act like the 'god' with the answers, you'll feel at home there and
maybe you'll visit me again. Maybe you'll become a regular customer.
If you show up at my shop you'll notice I don't own it. I manage it as
if it were my own, but it's part of a much larger sporting goods store.
Our philosophy is "repeat business is the best business" so we try to
treat you right the first time.
If you show up in my shop look me up, I'm always glad to meet a new
customer, especially if that customer is new to our area. We want you to
visit. We want you to return. We just have that attitude, in "my"shop.
I'm always glad to answer questions,
email me or stop by my
South Dakota website.
~ Al Campbell