The American Fly Fishing Trade Association deserves kudos for hosting a highly successful Dealer Summit event in Bozeman two weeks ago. Now in the second year, the summit more than doubled in attendees, involving 41 different retailers from throughout the United States. Any time you get 41 dealers in the same place, at the same time, to talk about issues relevant to the fly-fishing business world, that’s a very good thing. AT was proud to be an event sponsor, and we have heard many positive reports from those who attended. You can look for a longer, more detailed story in the next print issue of the magazine. For now, here’s what AFFTA had to say:
“Last week in Bozeman, the sold-out Dealer Summit proved to be a hotbed of discussion, networking, and idea-exchanging. Speakers such as Dan Mann (the Mann Group) and Brian Hawkins (bhawkins inc. and Fixture Lab) helped attendees better understand how to utilize their retail spaces, merchandize accordingly, and grow their store’s presence within the marketplace.
Evenings were filled with hosted cocktail parties and dinners, proving once again fishermen love to talk and exchange ideas over a drink. Many extended their trip to Bozeman in order to experience the area’s fishing, and networking proved to be alive and well as several attendees took advantage of the Summit to plan future trips with fellow industry folk.
Shop owners left with notebooks full of information, but the general consensus seemed to be five points in particular stood out:
- Know your customer—how do they interact with you now, and how will they in the future? (Maclaren Latta)
- Three phases are needed for a great store: design, merchandising, and operations. (Brian Hawkins)
- Connect with the customer, then connect the product with the customer. (Dan Mann)
- Learn to balance risk and uncertainty. Risk can be quantified and mitigated; uncertainty can’t. (Weston Fricke)
- Make your business easy to find and explore online. (Dwayne Martin)
Throughout the event, we saw several unexpected instances of support for the Fisheries Fund. Bozeman Spirits, the site of Wednesday evening’s cocktail party, generously donated proceeds from bottles sold during the cocktail hour. These funds have been earmarked to help fight the proposed Smith River mine.
Thursday afternoon, Google Business Photos donated a package worth $3,000, to be awarded to an attendee via a drawing. Upon winning the package, JD High Country Outfitters promptly donated the package back to AFFTA and the Fisheries Fund to be auctioned off. In response to spirited bidding, Google Business Photos added a second package to the mix, and both Trouthunter and Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters placed the winning bids, generating a total of $3,600 for the Fisheries Fund.
Please join us in extending a heartfelt thank-you to the sponsors who made this event possible: Yellow Dog Flyfishing, Sage, Simms, Scott, Hatch, Hardy, Patagonia, Orvis, Costa, RO Drift Boats, Umpqua, Angling Trade Magazine, Trout Unlimited, the Ocean Conservancy, and the City of Bozeman. Without these partners this event would not be possible, so please take the time to share your thanks.
If you did not make it out to the Dealer Summit this year, we hope to see you and your shop staff next October!”