Sometimes the big guys get big enough to think they
don't need any new business. That was the case with
several of the larger tackle companies at the fly show
in Denver this year. I stopped at two of the manufacturer's
booths to look at their product for possible inclusion in
the fly shop I manage, and they were too busy to greet me
at all. One of those manufacturers is a sponsor on this site.
In both cases, I stood around looking for info or at least
a catalog for a long time without even a greeting.
I'm sure the folks who actually manage these companies would
prefer that their representatives at least greet people who
visit the booth they pay thousands of dollars to rent; but
in several cases, their representatives weren't interested
in anything that looked like new business. In my case,
they looked at the badge that listed the company I work for,
and when it was a company they don't do business with already,
they ignored me completely. In one case, I even asked for
a catalog, which was refused because I don't already do
business with them. What a shame; they lost the chance to
do business with a company that has over 20 stores and sells
sporting goods exclusively.
Which fly rod or reel company is so big it isn't interested in
new business? I won't tell. In the case of the reel company,
I mentioned to them after I finally asked for help a second
time in 10 minutes that even though my particular shop doesn't
sell their reels, I would make sure that the three shops in
our corporation that do sell them know that their company isn't
interested in the business. The rep tossed me the catalog I
requested and told me to suit myself, then went back to a
three-way conversation with other reps.
The fly rod company I visited wasn't busy (one customer besides
me), had three reps there to show their rods, and didn't greet
me once in the 15 minutes I looked at rods and looked for a
catalog. I don't need to beg for help. In fact, I won't
beg for help if it's business they are losing. If that is
their form of customer service, I don't want to be between
them and customers who need service. It just wouldn't be a
pleasant day if my customers got that kind of "help" from
someone who makes something I sell.
My point here concerns the type of company I would select to
service my stores, and my pick of the show. The companies
that ignored me are high-end product manufacturers who seem
to fancy themselves as above the norm. The company who
produced my pick of the show also makes high-end products
as well as very affordable products. That is the only
similarity between "the big guys" and the big guy who
created the product I think supplies the best bang for
the buyer's buck this year.
When I walked into Redington's booth, the company
president, Jim Murphy shook my hand and greeted me by name.
His marketing director took the time to sit down with me
and show me all the new products and expressed interest
in our business. Then they both introduced me to the guys
who designed the new clothing line they will be selling next
year. Is there any wonder why Redington is moving ahead
in this game while others are, at best, struggling along?
My pick this year is the new clothing line from Redington.
In all the looking I did at the show, I didn't find anything
that offers more for the consumer's hard earned dollar than
what they showed me. Let me explain why.
There are a lot of companies out there competing for your
clothing dollars. I visited the booths of at least a dozen
of those companies at the show. Three of them didn't even
say "hi" while I looked over their merchandise. One of those
three had invited me to stop by their booth before the show.
Several of the companies are very high-dollar and offer very
nice clothing, but at a price.
The average price for a vented-back shirt was over $50 retail.
Pacific Fly Group offers a line of shirts that retail for $35
that are very nice. That company is very nice and easy to work
with too. I got the grand tour when I visited their booth.
Good stuff at a good price. For sure, candidates for my
However, Redington is introducing a new line of clothing
that will blow your socks off. They have a bug-proof, fast
wicking, high-tech shirt and pants that sell for about half
the price of the other guys at the show. Nice stuff, but
that was only part of the killer stuff I chose.
They are making a new line of shirts that are vented, have
roomy pockets, have the techy things you look for in a shirt;
all with a price tag of $29.99 retail. The matching pants
with zip-off legs are also $29.99 retail. The shorts will
sell for $24.99 retail and are a perfect match to the shorts
I saw at one of the non-greeting booths for $79.99 retail.
The fleece jacket with full zippered front will retail for
$49.99. Again, these are the same quality you'll find for
twice the price; but you don't have to take it in the shorts
(pun fully intended) to own a set of this stuff.
Funny, the price tags are enough to warrant my pick as the
best bang for the buck, but the company is the key to this
article. Is it any wonder that the booths of the unfriendly
guys were nearly empty while the Redington booth was packed
the entire show? A smile and a friendly "hi" are all it takes
to get people to stop and look over what you have to sell, but
some people can't even spare that much. Jim Murphy and his
staff went far beyond that to make me feel welcome and
appreciated. I don't wonder why his booth was constantly
Jim, to you and everyone who worked your booth at the show,
thanks. Your products will sell themselves, but they won't
get that chance; will they? Your attitude toward the customer
is in keeping with what we do here at FAOL. In fact, maybe a
few of us could learn from you. The product is part of the
game, but the service is the finishing touch that keeps the
customer coming back; but you already know that, don't you?