AFFTA – Making Fly Shops Great

3 comments / Posted on / by

Photo by Jess McGlothin

Photo by Jess McGlothin

By Rob Parkins

What do great fly shops have in common with John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King? I’m sure you can come up with a few inappropriate comments, but the answer is “Vision”.

Last week, Bozeman, Montana, saw 100 owners, managers and employees from 40-plus of the best fly shops in the country come together for the American Fly Fishing Trade Associations (AFFTA) second annual Dealer Summit.  Wednesday’s speaker, Dan Mann, of the Mann Group, explained how successful businesses must have a compelling vision in order to differentiate themselves from the many other companies in the same industry.

As a specialty fly shop employee, we have a unique opportunity to create an experience for the angler—from beginner to veteran—that is unmatched in the outdoor industry. We are able to share our love for the sport, appreciation of the beautiful places we fish and our commitment to protecting the environment.  At a time of political turmoil in Washington, where politicians from both sides of the aisle cannot even agree to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund, it is more important than ever to introduce more people to the fly fishing experience.

12095092_10153629350147560_462748278800099334_oAfter the three-day series of speakers and roundtables were over, there was an overwhelming response from the dealers that they can go back to their shop and implement ideas into their business that will benefit the customer. With support from the Dealer Summit sponsors (SAGE, Simms, Yellow Dog Fly Fishing, Scott, Hatch, Hardy, Patagonia, Orvis, Costa, RO Drift Boats, Umpqua, Angling Trade magazine, Trout Unlimited the Ocean Conservancy and the city of Bozeman) your local fly shop will be more prepared to share the story of fly fishing with its customers.

One of the highlights of the event was the generosity of Google Business Photos donating a package worth $3,000 to one lucky attendee. The winner of the package, JD High Country Outfitters, gave the package back and it was auctioned off with the proceeds being given to the AFFTA Fisheries Fund. After a bidding war started, Google decided to add a second package and both Trouthunter and Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters were the winning bids, raising $3,600 for the fund.

This quick recap of the AFFTA Dealer Summit was written to expose the Gink & Gasoline readers to the efforts that AFFTA, the Summit sponsors and attending retailers are doing to benefit its customers, the environment and the fly fishing industry. The next time you are in a fly shop, please ask if they are a member of AFFTA, and if they are not, share this article and encourage them to join.

Rob Parkins
Gink & Gasoline
Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!

Follow Gink & Gasoline on Facebook:

3 thoughts on “AFFTA – Making Fly Shops Great

  1. Thank you for reporting on this event. It affects everyone who goes to fly shops for goods, services, and information. It is incredibly important to a rewarding fishing experience to have the right experience in preparing, from equipment to knowledge of where and how to fish to positive attitude heading to the stream. I live in a destination fishery in the southeast, and our fragile economy depends on Eco tourism. Fly shops and guides are a big part of our area’s success. Plus I want our fly shops to be successful and stay in business. A tall order in today’s economy.

  2. I would have gone to the Summit, but, just like I-CAST it is at a very bad time of the year for me when I do lots of business. As a destination Shop, I can’t afford to take time off during the peak of my season to attend such an event. I hope some day AFFTA and the like will wake up and understand that if they really want participation from those of us who make this industry what it is they have to give us an opportunity to participate when we won’t lose our shirts to do so. As Ralph said, we are in a very fragile position, you’ll never see any destination fly shop owner on the Forbes list, but we all work very hard to satisfy our customers and to stay on top of industry trends. By shutting us out of the process by making it difficult for us to attend such events it is cutting off your nose to spite your face! How about such an event in November or February when the shoulder seasons that we depend on so much have ended? We would all benefit, more participation from destination shops, more industry leaders available for round table discussions, and more opportunity for a better hands on look at new gear for the coming season, it sounds like a win-win to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...