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Cheers to 7 Years

Looking back, 2014 seems like an eternity now but somehow its a flash.. 7 years ago we jumped off the cliff and opened August 1st 2014. The Bryson City shop was our only ambition and surviving the first year was our goal. To survive meant we needed excellent customer service, be open when we say we are gonna be open and stock what people want or need. Looking at photos now it seems like we started with, as Bobby puts it, "Air and Walls". The photos below show what we walked into at 3 depot street in Bryson City before we rolled up the sleeves and got to work turning it into a fly shop. Before we had keys to the location we started building the counter we still use on the deck at my house - not sure how we got that transported to the shop, and yet how we got it in the doors.

Making it our first year was a statistical miracle as most businesses that open do not make it to see year two and even fewer make it to year three. We slow stepped inventory growth and maintained high levels of customer service which still remains paramount to this day. We have learned a lot over the years, some lessons positive and some not so much. The phrase "Iron Sharpens Iron" comes to mind with running a small business. There is no "Little Red Book of How to Run a Fly Shop", so Bobby and I try our best to hash out what makes best business sense and whats best for the customer. While we haven't found that book yet we certainly have encountered some excellent examples of what a fly shop should look like and we keep those in mind. The highest compliment we can receive is when the owner(s) of one of those shops praises our efforts or reports back a positive reputation in the industry. An equally high praise we hear from a customer is "this is one of the best looking and stocked fly shops they have seen". That is exactly what we are trying to accomplish when we organize the store and display merchandise. At the crux of all of this is the though "What would we expect to see in a fly shop".

Bryson City is a slightly different town than it was when we opened. Part of that is due in part with the passing of our good friend Dennis White. Bryson City will always have great fishing opportunities and great businesses, but it just isn't the same without our buddy there to cheer everyone on as he was a Champion for Bryson City tourism and the growth the town has experienced since 2012ish.

In the middle of year three we opened in Sylva and gave the North Carolina Trout Capital a brick and mortar face of the fly fishing industry... You can't say you are the Trout Capital of NC and not have a fly shop...It has been amazing to watch this location continue to develop, grow with brands and serve the fly fishing community there. And finally in the days leading up to the anniversary of our opening in Bryson City we opened a third location in Waynesville. Haywood County, North Carolina has some really nice water that covers a variety of species. But we have some big shoes to fill there. Back in the 1990s (before fly fishing was cool) Roger Lowe opened a shop there. Roger operated the shop for many years before handing it off to a new owner as getting back to the river to guide was calling his name. So, off and on for many years Waynesville has had some form of a fly shop to serve the need there. However, since 2018 there hasn't been one until now. Its been very encouraging to hear the excitement of folks coming in glad to see a shop returned to the town.

Opening the third location, meeting new friends and customers, and better serving our current customers who live/stay in Waynesville has rekindled that love of why we do this. Its like planting a garden, the more you prepare, take care of and serve that garden the more it gives back in harvest. We have been blessed to serve and engage these communities over the last seven years and look forward to many more.


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