The National Retail Federation estimates that 147 million Americans–roughly half the population–went shopping in one form or another last weekend. Personally, I avoided the malls like the plague. Some people consider shopping “sport.” I do not. I consider it a necessary evil.
I do, however, consider it an obligation of sorts to swing by the fly shop to pick up a few stocking stuffers (like this Wheatley fly box… which I’d really like to give to myself). I’m not so much swayed by the “shop small Saturday” promotion as I am inclined to support small businesses all the time, especially those in fly fishing.
Sadly, those fly shops are becoming fewer and fewer with every passing year. Some might blame the big box stores, while others say that online sales are the cause. I happen to think that a great shop is as much about atmosphere as anything else, and you can’t find that through a computer screen. The good shops will stick around, one way or another.
Still, I wonder how many of us anglers make choices about where to shop (and not), based on things like supporting the local fly store, or supporting businesses that support fishing.
Do you make a conscious effort to buy from companies that support Trout Unlimited and/or other conservation intiatives? Do you try to support mom and pop? Do you care about “Made in America” products? Or is it always about finding the best deal?
Considering how expensive many fly fishing products are these days, it’s hard to fault anyone looking for the lowest prices possible. But on the other hand, I’ve never considered fly fishing a “commodity” sport, and I try to go out of my way to do right by the shops and manufacturers who do right by trout fishing.
What say you?