We received a copy of Fishing Tackle
Trade News this week. It's a trade
magazine, produced for the folks in retail
stores who sell fishing tackle. The cover
didn't exactly encourage reading it. It was
intended to show how unhappy customers
are at "marts." There are some interesting
'teasers' on the same cover, "Outsmart the
Marts, Give Your Customers the Service They
There are some good
ideas in this magazine. But if I were an owner
of a tackle store, I would be very confused.
Confused over the message
running in an undercurrent through the whole
magazine. One that is hard to put a finger directly
on, that the whole tackle industry seems to be at
war with each other. War over percentages of the
market, pieces of the pie. Where is the sense of
belonging or community?
Sure, business is competitive. But
those who succeed usually do so because they really
care about their customers, work at having good shops,
competent help, fair prices and SERVICE. One neat
tackle shop I know, which handled both spin, bait and fly tackle,
had local maps posted with what was happening on the
streams and lakes. The "where and when" of it. And
it worked, folks came back week after week.
What I have seen far too much of,
is the local shop owner who wants everyone to think he is
"god". . . the guy who is a legend in his own mind.
One such shop owner comes
to mind especially. He took a fly casting class and
became one of those 'instant experts'. It didn't matter
after all that he wound the spinning line on reels backwards,
or didn't have a clue about the differences in any reels.
He was the expert.
His business has dropped off, and
he gave up about half his floor space to another business.
And frankly when his business fails, someone will say,
"well, the tackle business is sure on it's butt!"
It's not the tackle business. It's
not the fly fishing business - although the fly fishing
manufacturers sure haven't helped with a glut of greatly
Those shops which have been around
long enough to have also been around the block are doing
fine. Some have expanded, added travel and mail-order or
web shopping. Grown with the times and opportunities.
That is a far cry from the group of
fly fishing wannabes who bought or opened shops in the
past few years.
Those in particular who following
the success of the "movie" watched the growth figures of
the tackle industry, a whopping 20 percent right after the
movie, and thought that kind of growth could / would be
The truth of the matter is that for
some that growth has been real! And continues to be
real. But it is not realitic business growth. Most businesses
are thrilled to have a 3 - to 5 percent growth rate..
And how do they do that? The
same, tired old thing we have all heard forever. They
work for it. They earn it. They provide the service
their customers want. They treat others as they would
like to be treated.
Confusing? I am terribly confused.
It is so simple, yet so few seem to get it right. The
FTTN magazine didn't get it.
Remember the 'teaser' I mentioned at
the beginning? "Outsmart the Marts, Give Your Customers
the Service They Deserve"? Here is the line that goes with
that: "Our Advisory Council Tells you How".
Excuse me! Have business attitudes
gotten so bad in this country that a tackle shop NEEDS
an "Advisory Council" to tell them how to provide service?
How on earth did we get here?
~ Deanna Birkholm