Simms to Sell Direct, Yet Reaffirms “Specialty Matters Most” Commitment… CEO K.C. Walsh Answers The Tough Questions

Simms Fishing Products dealers were informed this week about the company’s decision to make substantial changes to its distribution plans.  Most notably, starting in August, consumers will be able to purchase Simms gear through www.simmsfishing.com.  The company also says it will forbid dealers to sell current products on or through Amazon and eBay.

The decision by Simms to sell direct comes as a surprise to few.  Still, Angling Trade has received feedback from the retailer community ranging from anger to total ambivalence.  In most cases, the reaction has been a desire to get more facts.

With that in mind, Angling Trade editor Kirk Deeter interviewed Simms president and CEO K.C. Walsh.  Here are the first of K.C.’s candid answers.  You can see the full interview in Angling Trade’s E-newsletter, to be distributed next Tuesday, February 21.

AT:  How will Simms selling direct possibly benefit the specialty shop?  Do you recognize that there are consumers out there who buy waders at fly shops now, who will not do that in the future?

K.C.:  We see four basic consumer groups in fly fishing:  1) Traditional fly shop consumers (like myself) who like the experience of being in a shop.  They want to try things on, and they’re looking for expertise.  I think they’ll continue to shop that way.  2) There are “efficiency” shoppers, who work in a tower, and don’t have time to shop in stores.  They shop online, and are not super sensitive to price, sales tax, and those things.  3) The “close-out” guy is shopping at consumer shows and looking for deals on close-out websites.  4) Then there is the “brand fan” that connects with Simms specifically.  These are the guys who will skip a day of fishing to visit our factory.  We know they exist, because the call all the time to complain that we won’t sell to them.  That’s who we’re catering to by selling direct.  (Note: While Simms is moving to a newer, larger facility with a showroom, the company affirmed it will not sell retail from the new location).

No fly shop in the U.S. carries 100% of our product line. But we’re only selling full MSRP, with taxes, and we’re charging a shipping and handling fee.  Consumers will have to pay a premium to buy direct from Simms.  And when they shop online, they will have three options: Buy direct, but from the nearest fly shop, or buy through one of our 12 affiliate shops.

I don’t see this as a move to compete with fly shops, rather a way to fill in a void that is not being filled.  We’re also investing significant dollars in the website and web support, in a way that ultimately strengthens the brand, and I believe will ultimately benefit our dealers.

AT:  Orvis, Patagonia, and others have long had their own direct sales platforms, but Simms is often considered a different animal in that context, because it was born of the specialty fly shop.  Is this a change in philosophy?

K.C.: Our number one core value is that “Specialty Matters Most.”  We depend on the health and vibrancy of the specialty dealer, and we intend to grow the brand through the specialty dealer.  I firmly believe that moving to clean up our distribution (shutting down retailer sales through Amazon and eBay) will grow the specialty shopping.  I don’t expect all dealers to believe that now.  But if we see that direct sales are having a negative impact on specialty dealers, we will stop doing it.

Look for the rest of the interview in the next Angling Trade E-Newsletter.


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41 Responses to Simms to Sell Direct, Yet Reaffirms “Specialty Matters Most” Commitment… CEO K.C. Walsh Answers The Tough Questions

  1. Paul Prentiss says:

    This was inevitable and was the obvious direction Simms was heading for. My question is will the company service its own online operation as a first priority (my guess is yes). Today, there are a huge range of products dealers simply can’t get unless they are well covered in preseason orders. Simms advertises and heavily promotes many such products even despite inventory shortages… customers come in or call us asking for them…its nuts.

    • Cameron says:

      I can tell you from experience that dealers are their own worst enemies.
      When many do such a poor job of keeping the store stocked it put’s the mfg companies success into the dealers hands.
      Top complaints from my telephone & online customers is, #1) The dealer does a terrible job of keeping stock. 2) Their selection is horrible and they don’t listen to their customers. Small stores, chain stores it doesn’t matter.
      Going online forced dealers to either do a better job for their area or quit stocking the product. The correllation between great selection and lousy selection rings true as well. We have tiny dealers that stock every product we have. And we have superstores that stock maybe 16 to 32 sku’s. The tiny obscure dealer sells 10 times more stuff. When we have dealers in a specific area doing a good job for their customers the online orders are nearly non-existent for that specific area.
      4 of our biggest markets see barely any online orders. But all others where dealers do a horrible job for their local customers our online sales are the only way for them to get what they want.
      When I say “dealers doing a bad job for their locals” Those aren’t my words that’s their customers words. A fly and or tackle shop is a service to the local community and when you’re always out of key products customers move away from buying from you. Like the gas station out of gas all the time.
      I had my own store too and the “early buy” stradegy is a good one but that’s not where the buying duties would end. Sure it costs 10 to 15% more when you run out and have to restock before the next early buy but the one and only fact should be make your customer happy, & coming back so you can make that sale.
      No product, no sale.
      Also learn to ignore the guy who says he can get it a little cheaper somewhere else. 99.9% of customers care about one thing, customer service. And that includes having everything they need for that area in stock during specific seasons. It’s not always easy but we sure had fun when we did it.

      Just my two cents. Maybe 20 cents?

      • Jen says:

        I don’t know if you’ve totally missed the current economic situation. Keeping large amounts of money in inventory is not an option for survival for many. Not to mention SIMMS is quite notorious for not having things in inventory (and charging rather astronomical shipping costs) … Sometimes In May Maybe September is not exactly a flattering acronym.
        Try getting your stream report, working bugs or fishing license from SIMMS when you order online and maybe give your local fly shop another chance.

      • Tarponguy says:

        Cameron… Really?

        When counting a season or two ago (depending on how you count “Simms seasons” anymore – spring vs fall), if my memory serves me correctly, Simms introduced 80-some-odd NEW SKUs not including the full size runs for each SKU.

        Add to that the disco’d product from the previous season that the rep twisted arms, explaining that these were going to be the HOTTEST thing going to ensure that the product was brought in. And when it fizzles, doesn’t work or select sizes (L & XL/11&12) are never shipped, at the end of the fishing season there is a TON of money sitting in worthless inventory. So after supporting Simms and paying the rep’s very decent salary, shops are forced to blow out – either in the store and now probably online – in order to make the end of the year bills and survive the slow season.

        Is it any wonder why the small specialty shops cannot begin to stock every single Simms SKU?

        From a retailer’s standpoint, it is a good @*^% thing Simms make arguably the best waders, jackets and boots, because if they didn’t dealing with Simms corporate as a company just wouldn’t be worth it.

        Most, if not all, small retailers have no heartache with placing a special order for a customer who wishes to purchase something. It is a guaranteed sale! Yeah, maybe the shop isn’t going to make as much margin on that item as he would if bought on pre-season pricing, and yeah, there is the additional shipping to consider. But those shops are grateful that the client came to them, gave them the opportunity to make the sale to him. And that’s all well and good, but then to be forced to turn around at the counter, look the customer in the eye and tell him he’s not going to get it because Simms can’t deliver… No matter how you try to explain it to them, the shop still ends up looking bad in those eyes of the client. “It’s the shops fault that there is no product – they should have bought more earlier”. Well, I guess Simms will now get to live with those black eyes. Let them see how it feels like. Let their customer service people take it in the ear when customers call and complain.

        And how does it help the small shop when the customer makes the effort to come through the front door, whether it is driving some distance to some rural destination shop or the manic hassle of driving through high traffic urban congestion, to find that what they want is not in the store, but for a couple of more bucks, they can avoid the hassle of the drive and sit in the comfort of their home or kill time at the office when they should be working and order directly from Simms, knowing that Simms will have first priority on selling a particularly popular item? Doing it that way even adds to the time that can be spent taking the kids to soccer practice or to the swim meet. Ordering direct from Simms even gets him “Atta Boys” from the wife.

        Maybe I’ll make some money out of this by trademarking the business names “Spotted Owl Fly Shop” and “Cheetah Troutfitters” as the fly fishing specialty store is going to be placed at the top of the Endangered Species List. Thanks for helping Simms!

    • Tim,
      I appreciate your interview with Simms and how fast you responded to the news. Simms claims this has been done to protect the specialty fly shops that have to deal with sells tax. Simms states 18 shops in California have gone out of business alone last year as they build a new warehouse to house their new online store. How would you like to own a fly shop in Bozeman?

      The wonderful thing about the internet it has evened the playing field between our shop and the large box stores. We ship for free and do not collect a sells tax. Is this fair to a California shop. No it is not. On the other hand it will not stop Cabelas from mailing their large catalogs and fliers to that very market. Not to mention their credit card and other discounts they offer. Their web presence is daunting to say the least and this will add fuel to there presence. Leaders in their company had to celebrate this decision.

      Simms wants to protect specialty shops yet they allow the large box stores to discount and sell across state lines with no regulation. We have Amazon and E Bay to level that playing field. Stores who have a strong web sight presence and a history of web sight sells will not stop selling across state lines.

      Simms states they back the Marketplace Fairness act (Senate Bill 1832). Simms states this is one of the main reasons for the change in policy. What if this bill passes? Will Simms again change their position? I guess not.

      Most of our customers live miles from the closest fly retail shop and what we do is a convenient choice. This was a model we have spent countless hours developing and it has worked. Simms claims they want to protect their product image because the packaging being done by E Bay sellers and Amazon sellers is not sufficient. What about purchases from any on line web sight. The same person who may have packaged that product incorrectly will continue to do so from their own web sight.

      John Hoagland and KC Walsh does not have the small retailer on their minds when they made this policy. Four years ago Cabelas opened a new store twenty minutes from us. This has had no effect on our sells and personally I did not mind the store being there. Shortly after the opening I received a call about discounted G-4 jackets. Half off to be exact. I called Simms to complained and talked to John. I was told they would look into it. I bought all eight of them two weeks later and sold them on E Bay. I took these out of our local store to save on our complaints. Now, if this was one of the specialty stores Simms claims to want to protect. It would of been addressed. Two standards and shows that Simms is just another corporate business that looks at the bottom line with disregard to how this might effect shops in their area. Not to mention the waders that found there way into Costco last year. Do not be fooled, it is all about profits.

      This is a defining moment in our and other businesses. The excuses being used are a cover up for the on line presence that Simms is developing. I bet they do a much better job at keeping up inventory levels then they have done in the past. Smoking mirrors and excuses just do not fly when we are faced with loosing 20% of our business. We do have a plan to react to this change and have already started to work towards this goal. We have six months to get it done. In the meantime I would encourage you to interview other shops and get their reactions to these events. It would be good to hear from both sides of this debate. Thank you for your time.

      • I mentioned it was John Hoagland that I complained about the discounted G-4 jackets. I stand corrected. It was Andy Wunsch. Mr. Wunsch held John position at Simms at that time.

  2. Simms and every brand needs to find every quality way to keep potential customers engaged – selling direct is just another channel to do this; in their case selling their full line at full price. The other channels, such as specialty fly shops or even ProGuideDirect.com, must work hard to nurture and engage their existing customers and to “lean into their competitive strengths” to continue to grow and thrive in this context.

    However, Simms should also be announcing new programs for the specialty dealer to help them add value. While they desire to capture all potential leads, they should also want the outfitter, shop, and guide to also thrive – as these folks are the experts who truly support and drive the industry.

    So rather than be critical of a new channel (which we are not), we do wonder that if “specialty matters most,” where are the new programs to help them? In our case, we can help outfitters, shops and guides with new ways to engage their customer base through best in class marketing ideas and technology. Simms should do the same.

  3. Smithhammer says:

    Not the least bit surprising. First get into the Big Box stores, and then start selling direct. It’s the logical next step…from the company’s perspective, anyway. For the independent shops, not only do we have to now compete with Cabelas, etc. but we have to compete with direct online sales as well. I know Simms will maintain that this isn’t the case. But at the end of the day, it’s pretty simple – it’s another move, just like moving to Bix Box stores, which further saturates the market. And the more places that people can find a given product, the less incentive they have to buy from the independent store, as they did when that was the only choice for finding brands like Simms.

    Regardless, I’m convinced that the timing of the announcement is far from coincidental – I’m pretty sure an announcement like this would never have been made in the late summer or fall, with pre-season orders being written…

  4. Ray Schmidt says:

    This is a growing trend from fly tackle manufacturers and it will certainly continue with high profile branded product lines like Simms. As these companies have grown over the years ( mainly because local fly shops have promote the brand) their thirst for more sales and profits have driven them to do things like this that they promised their core retailers they would never do.
    If these guys really believed in the speciality retailers carrying the ball for them this is a poor way to send a reward.

  5. Michael Hoiness says:

    In place of selling direct, why not take the order direct, then ship from the nearest Sims Dealer, giving the dealer the sale? They put the investment in the Sims product.

  6. Dennis Mc Afee says:

    Having been in fly fishing retail trade for 25 years, I wonder if KC Walsh ever considered
    the following result which is too many people who are buying waders might think they
    need a size large when they really need a large king or large long, etc. Then when buying
    wading shoes, they order their shoe size instead of one size larger. Here comes the
    problem, additional freight cost returning for the right size or he takes his waders into
    a local dealer to see if he can exchange for the right size. Trust me, it will happen.

    The dealer has every right to say thanks for supporting local business and don’t let the
    door hit you on your ass on your way out.

  7. Mike Hogue says:

    I certainly have no need for Simms. I also don’t carry Orvis or Patagona. I need companies that support instead of compete with me. If you want to make friends with dealers, why not take the order , ship and credit the local dealer with th margin? I guess that’s too complicated, helping the fellows that pay your bills stay open!

    • Smithhammer says:

      My concern here is the amount of influence that two large companies, in particular, are having over the entire industry, bending things to their will. Any guesses why IFTD is held in August? Certainly not because it is a time of year that works for the majority of retailers. In addition, I think it shows a great deal of insensitivity (or cluelessness…) to individual shops when, for example, we’re just starting to see wader sales pick up in September, and the following year’s line has already been unveiled at IFTD a month before. And pre-season order dates continue to get pushed farther and farther into the future, to the point where it’s virtually impossible for us to guess what we’re going to need to following year.

      All of these things are reasons why IFTD is failing, and why a few major companies in the business are shooting the industry in the foot.

      • Smithhammer says:

        p.s. – I think that what is really needed is a more organized, unified voice on the part of the retailers, putting our collective foot down about what works for us, and what we’re not willing to tolerate if these companies want us to continue doing the leg work for them…

    • VW says:

      Agreed….

  8. Dan Fink says:

    If Simms is selling at full MSRP, plus shipping and handling, as the article says?
    Why not!
    When you don’t live in a city or anywhere near one, so that there ARE no specialty fly shops within a reasonable number of hours drive, this makes sense. If the gasoline bill is less than the shipping and handling, the customer wins with the drive, and likely gets a big sloppy dog kiss from the flyshop hound at the cash register.

    Or if you are fishing up there in the bush with only the iPad and sketchy satellite internet, and the wolves just shredded your pack–and you need a new one on the next float plane?

    If they were discounting, that would be another matter. I guess we all get to see how it goes.
    DAN

    • Dan,
      If you owned a shop in Montana you would not think this is a good idea. Also, many shops across this land have worked hard to develop an internet business that works and provide this service for you and to have to compete against the manufacture is not fair. First, they have the ability to control their inventory levels and short the dealers. When we order from Simms we hold our breath hoping they have the product. Think this will improve?
      Simms has the money and the ability to out spend every specialty shop. So business will be driven away from our shops to them. We do not play on a level playing field and our field has just become much more rocky.

    • Dan,
      Simple, order from a fly shop on-line catalog. No gas needed

      Rich

  9. David says:

    This will do nothing to help the plight of small fly shops. Simms I bought a pair of your guide waders last year. With this news they will be the last.

  10. Tyler Cote says:

    It seems like a matter of time before Simms loses favor and a certain appeal with the “core” and is replaced by some new “niche” manufacturer who makes all of their products in the USA, only sells through speciality shops, and becomes known for no b/s products with uncompromising quality (Hatch Reels anybody?). I think Simms will be an industry icon for a long time to come, but we can probably all think of other companies that don’t carry the stature and relevancy in the industry that they once did.

    I don’t necessarily agree with the 4 types of consumers in neat catagories with no overlap. I think there is a lot of over lap in consumer purchasing habits, and competition is competition. A move like this will only seem to expedite that evolution previously described. It’s just a matter of time before the next hotshots with fire in their bellies step up with new products that cater to the core.

  11. Kim Waters says:

    I know of no one store who can make it on Simms brand along. Simms should should buy out as many product lines as they can and do away with rep groups and then open up there own “Simms Stores” They already know were the top Simms dealers are! This way they would not have to worry about someone down the street bidding for a protected product line. I am just glad we sold our store in Fl. when we did. We sure as heck fish a lot more!

  12. Mike Kruise says:

    I am concerned about this avenue that Simms is taking but I will stand behind it until it hurts my business, and then I will have to take another look at what I can do to off set the situation. I feel the people who buy on my online store will go away, and that is my biggest fear, so after Aug 1 I wont be competing with Ebay i will be competing with Simms.

  13. Matt Holm says:

    The archery industry is a good example of top manufacturers protecting the specialty shop. Mathews and Bowtech will not sell to big box retailers; only to specialty shops who can prove their expertise and those shops sell $700 to $900 bows like popcorn. Yes, they have sub-brands they sell to the big box, but they are not what the “core” wants.

  14. The next bomb is soon to drop as Patagonia will be sending a letter out to dealers as well. Effective July 1st dealers will no longer be able to sell their products on ebay or Amazon.

  15. Victor Babbitt says:

    As long as Simms is charging taxes, shipping and handling and not offering some “throw in for free” to entice the buyer, like other sites I have seen, I am fine with it and hope it makes Simms a healthier company. Maybe, if they become healthier, they will offer true brick and mortar specialty shops a better pricing program? I am competing with numerous online stores and such that have an advantage by not having to add tax to there sales and or no charge for shipping etc. So why not add another online option that seems to be an easier one to compete with! If I was an online retailer I guess I might have to look at it differently, but I am not and am more worried about how to keep a specialty store alive. Back in the day, when there wasn’t the online option, clients had to come to a specialty store to get their waders and rods etc; can we go back to that? It wouldn’t bother me…

    • John Staser says:

      Since when is it a favor to sell something at retail, charge for shipping and pay your taxes? Everyone should be able to do this without it being a competetive disadvantage.

  16. John Staser says:

    Having been a Simms supporter and retailer for as many years as they have been in existance, I can only hope that they will change their plans to support the local retailer. That is where America is heading and only the companies smart enough to capitalize on this trend will prosper in the new age. There is no reason the sale cannot be attributed to the local retailers. The margins should be credited or shared with the local fly shop who has built Simms into the industry leader that they are today. Every objective KC Walsh is trying to achieve with this move can still be accomplished. Manufactureres who think they can compete with Retailers are going to find that they loose favor. I am the largest independent Patagonia dealer in Alaska and my biggest competitor right now is Patagonia.com. My sales would be double if I did not have to compete with their web store. When the right product comes along allowing retiailers to make money with the manufacturer’s support, it will make good business sense to support another brand. It is short sighted to go after these direct sales and the associated huge profits at the expense of local retailers. Retailers do need to unite to preserve your way of life, manufacturer’s are nothing without you. As you kneel down to fit another customer with Simms boots, keep your eyes out for the manufacturing executive and his internet brainchild coming up to mount you from behind.

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  19. John Staser says:

    One last thought, we as retailers are Simms best customers. We are now faced with competing with them. How would Simms feel if they had to compete directly against Gore? Or the Chinese factories making some of their products? Isn’t that the next logical step? When will factories decide they can make more money and find more customers by marketing their products directly on the internet, bypassing their current customers?

    We need to foster a level of mutual trust throughout the system and let each partner do what they do best. Retailers will adapt and still provide the best buying experience for their customers, but it would be nice not to be forced to compete with our suppliers. The best long term business model is one that continues to support local retailers. American’s are fed up with corporate greed and are looking to companies that bring jobs back to their local communities. Simms has done a great job in this regard so far, I hope they can adjust their plan so that they don’t stray from what makes them a great company.

  20. John,
    Thank you for your words. Well written and points well made.

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  23. Shannon says:

    Changing my position on corrugated cardboard manufacturers from “Hold” to “Buy” immediately.

  24. MISteelhead says:

    Let Simms sell direct,its now time for the owner to look at the shop employees and say we need to give everyone the very best service we can all the time and if you can not do that you need to find another job!
    I can not tell you how many times I have walked into a shop and don’t even have someone say hello or how can I help!
    Now you can see why company’s want to go direct when you go into shops and its tea time and no one helps you get the information or gear you need!
    This is not the first nor will it be the last company to do this!
    IT STARTS WITH THE CUSTOMER boys and that is the cold hard facts! Be better get better you can beat Simms at the cash register!

  25. CR says:

    I’m not as concerned about direct sales as I am about the restrictions they’re putting on online sales. Direct sales doesn’t scare us much, and could ultimately work out better in the long run as has worked for Orvis and Patagonia. However, our shop is located in an area with a very small local fly fishing community. We are, in fact, the only local fly shop in our area, and we depend on online and ebay sales to be able to provide a brick & mortar storefront for local customers. In my lifetime I’ve seen 5 fly shops open here and go out of business within a year or two, but we’ve been able to survive because of revenue from online sales. Eliminating ebay sales will hurt us considerably, but they’re also talking about banning overseas sales by american dealers, and that scares us a lot. A big chunk of our revenue comes from overseas sales. Simms products are notoriously hard to find overseas, and I’m not sure how overseas customers will be able to purchase simms products at all if this happens.
    We’ve played by the rules and we don’t offer any special discounts or freebies, which makes it difficult already to compete with online dealers who consistently break the rules (for example I just saw an ad for a free taco bag with G3 waders). We do offer free shipping, but Simms now frowns upon that as well, tho they haven’t specifically banned it yet. Whatever advantage we have comes strictly from providing the best possible customer service we can muster, and we do that for our online customers as much as for our walk-ins. There may be a lot of bad online dealers out there, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done well and we feel we’ve proven that there can be good online dealers that provide the kind of customer experience Simms expects. Unfortunately, Simms does very little to police the rule-breakers, while nitpicking and imposing limits on shops that are trying to do right. I think these new policy changes will only hurt shops like ours that follow the rules, and fly fishers who live in areas like ours where local shops won’t be sustainable without the revenue support online/ebay sales provides.

  26. David King says:

    Living in southeast TN the nearest town supported 2 Shops in the past now they are both gone. Tennessee’s high sales tax and online product availability killed these shops. Customers would come in try a rod, waders etc and then buy them online with free shipping. I have to go to Atlanta, Nashville or the Knoxville area to put my hands on gear that I’m interested in buying now. I wouldn’t want to buy a high dollar item based on online images and specs.

  27. Here are a few additional thoughts for industry people to consider another side to the story. I have read posts about how there is no need for Simms to compete against dealers for the business being done on-line. The irony of this thought is that many companies are going DTC because dealers are NOT ordering or supporting many products which they should. How is it “competing” when a shop only supports 20 products out of a hundred or so locally appropriate products that a manufacturer offers! Owning a fly shop for almost 20 years, I fully understand the issue. There are many fly shops that don’t preseason and only carry all of the bare necessities. When Simms visits many dealer’s websites, there are many appropriate Simms products which are not offered. It is understood how many shops don’t have cash flow, are scared of the internet, don’t do social media…etc, but what is the answer? I had a shop owner tell me over the past month that “you think ecommerce is here to stay?” I have listened for years, shops talk about building websites, integrating their POS and building their on-line businesses, but the reality is that in the SE, the majority of the dealers don’t show a fraction of the Simms products on their websites! How is Simms supposed to offer better programs, prices and policies when the consumers can’t find their products to look at or consider purchasing? Times are changing and the ball is in Simms’ court to show their dealers that DTC doesn’t have to be a death sentence, but instead a means to become a better partner. What if instead of looking to “steal” your customers they actually sent customers to you! What if Simms with DTC drove brand strength even higher and drove customers to local dealers thru the web! Simms dealers are the place consumers go for info, knowledge and expertise. They are the “local showrooms” where consumers can get advise and touch the product. Simms has NEVER existed without dealers and DTC will not change their opinion that Simms dealers are the backbone of the brand! Many brands that went DTC did not ruin their brand by going direct, but rather did so by over distributing their brand in box stores like Belks, Bealls and other local department stores. Simms making sure it will cost MORE to purchase from them will quickly show dealers not to worry. When someone decides to pay sales tax and shipping and handling from Bozeman MT to Vero Beach, FL…they will come running in to local dealers to buy it. (or order it from them with no shipping/handling fee since many shops may not have it in stock). I hope to not offend any current shop owner with this post, but the fact is that many SE shops carry a fraction of the Simms product line and thus it is tough to tell Simms not to consider DTC.

    Who is the company that is #1 in getting new fly anglers into the sport? Is is Sage, 3M, Winston, Simms…who? NOPE…there really isn’t even a second place. ORVIS. I heard in 2011 they got over 10,000 people to take their fly fishing 101 course. Why is this? Why doesn’t every major manufacturer in fly fishing run company initiatives in bring people into the sport to insure a vibrant and growing industry? The answer usually comes down to money! Orvis is more than likely the only company with the money to run this kind of costly campaign. My opinion is that if we had all the major companies properly conduct a DTC model and used the funds to not “compete” with you, but rather send new anglers to your shop, this industry could start growing again instead of being stuck like a dog chasing its tail.

    The PGA is committed to bringing 10 million NEW golfers to the sport of golf by 2017! Wow…what a commitment! Visit the First Tee website and see for yourself! Imagine being a golf pro shop and having an industry organization committed to the sport getting new participants! Why doesn’t AFFTA have some sort of initiate like this? More than likely the first statement from them would be revolving about money! If Simms and the rest of the major players look at DTC as a means to be able to grow the sport and send people to local pro shops…I am listening! Give them a chance…change does not have to be bad.

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