Fly fishermen have this love affair with the sport and their dreams of being a part of it, being an industry insider, retiring from their career as doctors or lawyers or analysts and lobbyists, and becoming fly fishing guides or travel agents, industry reps, opening up their own shops, or just want to be in it for discounts and fishing invitations. It's not for everyone, and I thought it would be good to document the journey of my attempt to build a fly shop from scratch. I'll be writing about the trials and tribulations of my old shop closing, the highs and lows of life, and the effort trying to open a new one. I'll try to update it regularly, as I remember it, and as things happen.
January 3rd, 2016
Just got notice that our store is officially closing at the end of the month. We're going to have to pack everything up and ship it to our main store, and I'm going to have to tell my 3 guys that as of Jan 31st, they will no longer be employed. I was told sometime in December that if we didn't have a great Christmas, they were going to evaluate whether or not to close the doors. Too much of a loss in 2015 to keep afloat. I understood the economics behind the decision, but it was still a bite in the ass to tell my guys they needed to find work elsewhere. I also bought a house and got engaged the year before, in Washington DC no less, so how the fuck are we going to afford a mortgage and a wedding?
January 7th, 2016
I rushed to get the numbers together and work out what buying the current business would cost. I spoke with a few of my best customers to potentially partner with me to do this. Market research, analyzing past profit and loss statements, and some help from the owners to help move it along.
These guys gave me some great feedback, but weren't really interested in buying the current failing business nor be in the same location. They also wouldn't help if I wasn't going to be vested in the company. Important to have someone who wouldn't pack up and leave when the going got tough.
I'll have to start thinking of other ways to make this work. I can't believe that all the hard work forming great relationships with our folks down here in the DC area is going to end. We've had to compete with a ton of other competition in the area including 5 Orvis stores, 3 Dick's Sporting Goods, a BassPro, an LL Bean, and a few other smaller retailers all within a 45 minute radius, and we did well for ourselves. Sure we were hamstrung a bit but we made it work... just not enough. Was this all a sign to just get out of the industry and move on?
January 20th, 2016
Amazing job opportunity just landed in my lap. A very large DC NGO reached out to me about a position working for them doing outreach with recreational anglers form New York to North Carolina, talking conservation. I was asked to come into their main office and interview. I would have to stand on my own merits for this job, and I'd shift from making money to making a difference. Being on the right side of history is extremely noble, especially in the marine conservation field, and something I had worked towards from junior high school to date. To say this was the opportunity of a lifetime was an understatement.
In the meantime, unemployment would have to help me pay the bills. I just pray to the flying spaghetti monster I don't get sick.