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nvr2L8
02-13-2008, 08:30 PM
The fishing report today said:


There are several reasons for the fly fishing business decline.

One is fly fishing participation is falling off. Hard to imagine this unless there are that many fly fisherpersons dying off. Once you get started, who can stop? It's like losing interest in breathing. Maybe only the addicts log onto this board, but it's hard to see interest waning among the faithful.
Second, big box stores have opened in markets once dominated by small stores. I've been there. Unless you hunt with really big guns or fish with really big lures, there isn't much there for fly fishers. After my extensive market research (?), I have to say "the smaller the better".
Third, the economy is soft. I still don't believe we are in a recession but many people do. Once you make the initial investment, one doesn't have to spend that much on fly fishing. One might choose to have a rod in every weight and two reels for each rod (one overline and one underline - and possibly a third that actually matches the reel) but you can fish a lifetime if you choose to with not that much cost after you once get rigged up. It's all a matter of choice (like so many other things). I probably spend much more than I have to and could get by with much less if I was truly in an economic pinch. (Haven't there been some discussions lately about cane poles and mono line?)
Fourth, the cost of fuel has been rising sharply. This one I can sort of buy. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to look out our windows and see the Smokies - most folks are not that fortunate and to them I extend heartfelt sympathies.I don't dispute the fact that fly fishing is on the decline but it boggles my mind as to why. I don't dispute your conclusions for the general public, Byron, but it's hard to imagine any little thing like a recession or $100/bl oil keeping me off the streams.

Long live fly fishing; long live the small fly shop; long live the community of fisherpersons; tight lines till I can't hop rocks!:biggrin:

Jubal
02-13-2008, 08:50 PM
I frequent the fly shop in my town and try my very best to give him 100% of my business. I work for a company that DEPENDS on other local small business to stay open...and make money! And I also love to visit other shops and pick their brains while in their area.

I went down to the fly show in Charlotte this past weekend and had a ball just meeting shops/guides/writers I've learned of over the years. I even bought a dozen flies (like I need anymore) from Jim Cassada. He commented twice his flies were not the cheapest and I said cheapest don't catch fish and I'd rather spend my money with him, someone who knows the flies work and won't come undone after the first strike.

.....and I agree the big box stores try and stick fly fishermen in a box...limited supplies I can actually use on my tiny streams and pitiful looking flies.

Keep up the good work LRO, hope to see you this summer if I get time to make the trek.

highpockets
02-13-2008, 08:59 PM
Well, in your descriptions you answered a few of the questions yourself.

After the initial investment we do stop spending as much. A fly shop killer! We need more new anglers.

Big Store fly shops like the Bass Pro in Nashville have excellent fly shops in them.

And yes gas prices are making me spend less on everything!

Hal M
02-13-2008, 09:46 PM
Charlie B.

Amen to your last 2 lines !!!

Hal

Byron Begley
02-13-2008, 11:15 PM
Charlie,

When I write the fishing report every day I only spend an hour on the whole process. What I forgot to mention is the most important fact. Children are not getting into outdoor sports. As older people die off there are not people to take their place as those who love the outdoors. It is a sad situation. Also many of the fly shops have been on the fence of either hanging on or folding. Another sad situation.

Byron

David Knapp
02-13-2008, 11:15 PM
Once you make the initial investment, one doesn't have to spend that much on fly fishing.

You must not tie flies yet...;) I really have to keep spending a lot of money on tying supplies...:rolleyes: It is impossible to go into a shop with a quality selection of tying materials and come out without any...meaning I keep wandering into LRO and coming back out with a bag full of goodies.:cool:

ijsouth
02-13-2008, 11:17 PM
One is fly fishing participation is falling off.

It's not just fly fishing - all forms of fishing (and hunting) are falling off. We're losing the youngsters, and there are many reasons - an increasingly urban population, separated from the land, the insidious effects of television, video games, and the very 'net we're posting on, and the like. We might not notice it, as we're caught up in the sport and we don't have access to the numbers like the Game&Fish folks do, but it's there.

Actually, the biggest reason is the parents - in general, our fast-paced society is creating detached, disinterested parents - too busy working late hours to pay for a house that's too large and expensive, and the kids are dumped in day care. Of course, a lot of the parents have no connection to the outdoors, either.

In many ways, I was fortunate that my parents met and married a little beyond the average age; my father was from a simpler time, and he introduced me to fishing, not knowing the Pandora's box he was opening. Anyway, I feel fortunate to be able to pass this on to my children, but in many ways they are now the exception, not the rule.

Back to the specific topic of fly fishing - there was a upward spike in fly-fishing numbers after "the movie" came out, but like most items in pop culture, the numbers fell off afterwards. So, if we're to have a future with this sport, the motto "take a kid fishing" needs to be acted upon.

Flyfishjeep
02-14-2008, 12:00 AM
I can assure you all that my kids as soon as they are old enough to hold a rod and not want to step on it they will be on the water next to me. And when their children are at that point in their lives they will know me and the outdoors to the fullest. We can't take for granted having the smokies in our backdoor. My kids already love driving through and exploring in my Jeep with the top and doors off. I love where I live and never plan on leaving. This is God's country.

Fishermansfly
02-14-2008, 01:17 AM
Ditto to what PA said....the farther you get into this sport the more money it drains from your bank account. I think the more serious you get in this sport the more money you dish out....Sure you can set a modest budget and hit the creek all summer....Or you can do what I do...

Get a new rod (to fix my casting abilities)...New reel (make line pick up quicker allowing that "One more cast").....New line (to cast farther and more accurate and "up" the fish death toll).....New equipment; waders, vest, bags, etc... (this would stretch the imagination if I went on to talk about me constantly buying new equipment)...That just covers the fishing season and that's not counting the flies....

Then you have the winter/cold months...still fishing non the less! These months are compounded with pretty consistant tying and returning to LRO to purchase some new "gotta have material" My wife hates hearing that...Just kidding!! Then I spend a vast majority of time online looking at what's new coming for the new season...Now readjusting and rehashing your inventory trying to make things smaller and make yourself generally more efficient on the water....Countless hours logged on the computer on various message boards and various fly fishing sites....

One more aspect you can't forget about is the constant nagging feeling I have to want to buy a boat...The more I think on it...the more I feel as if I would be headed down the road of divorce! Having a new boat would require new gear to through on the boat and in general things to make your day in the boat easier!

The more time I spend in this sport, the more time the sport spends consuming me. It's simply turned passion into obsession. I'm a fairly young guy now, and I hope I get the opportunity to spread the word and mend lines with some of the younger folks in life. It truely is an amazing sport and everytime I think of someone who says, "Why do you fly fish?" I can only think of the film produced for last years The Drake Magazine contest. The film that won...It was a well thought out film short and to the point...

Little River Outfitters won't be going anywhere anytime soon, not If my bilfold has anything to do with it! And I say that's ditto'd by all of your loyal followers!

~Brett

nvr2L8
02-14-2008, 07:21 AM
I think "the movie" made FF temporarily chic just like "O Brother Where Art Thou" made some folks believe they liked bluegrass for a while.

The topic of not getting kids involved is a disturbing one and it's not the kind of thing where you can go start a kids program without dedicated parents involved. They can't just drive their kids to a fly fishing day like driving them to a soccer game or a dance lesson. It takes a lifelong commitment that outlasts fads. Guess it's up to as as parents and grandparents to make sure that we get the young ones involved. Fly fishing is a much healthier alternative (in more ways than just the physical aspects) than many of the other instant gratification kinds of past times kids can get into but they'll never get the chance if we don't make the time and patience investment to get them out there.

Re: the money thing - The nice thing about getting hooked on this sport is that it gives the spouse and kids an easy option for special-day gifts. That LRO gift card is easy for them to produce and easier for us to use; and the fly shop reaps the rewards along with us.

tnernie
02-24-2008, 12:05 PM
Sad news in today's Knoxville News-Sentinel that the Creel in Knoxville is closing at the end of March. This shop has been around for a long time. Scott Rogers the owner listed some of the problems that the shop has faced as the "Big Box Stores'" and the big name brands allowing them to sell their gear.

UofMontanaAlum
02-24-2008, 01:00 PM
Sad news in today's Knoxville News-Sentinel that the Creel in Knoxville is closing at the end of March. This shop has been around for a long time. Scott Rogers the owner listed some of the problems that the shop has faced as the "Big Box Stores'" and the big name brands allowing them to sell their gear.

Read the LRO fishing report today,02/24/2008. The Creel was a "ripe apple" in my opinion. It's sad to see an independently owned business go out but it also opens an opportunity for a more progressive business to enter the market. I am hoping that we see a positive change to the Knoxville fly fishing retail business.

jeffnles1
02-24-2008, 03:09 PM
Owning a business is hard work. Managing a successful business is even harder work. I think a lot of shops close because the owner had no idea how much work it was going to be. It isn't all just sitting around talking fishing. Another thing, it takes a certain personalty type. I've been in shops (gun shops, fly shops, guitar stores) where the owners were surly and couldn't care less if you came back or not. Many of those stores only last a couple years.

Byron has no illusions about how much work this is and he's successful. Byron has leveraged the power of the internet to expand his customer base beyond Townsend and the GSMP. Byron is a smart business man.

I think the bottom line of why a lot of shops close is the owners were much better fishermen than they were businessmen.

Jeff

smokyfisher
02-25-2008, 08:32 PM
Read the LRO fishing report today,02/24/2008. The Creel was a "ripe apple" in my opinion. It's sad to see an independently owned business go out but it also opens an opportunity for a more progressive business to enter the market. I am hoping that we see a positive change to the Knoxville fly fishing retail business.
Did you take any time to hang out at the Creel?
The Creel was a great shop, if you took some time to hang out you could get a lot of info about fishing anywhere. I shop at both LRO and the Creel, and I don't see how anyone could do better than Scott.

UofMontanaAlum
02-25-2008, 10:17 PM
Did you take any time to hang out at the Creel?
The Creel was a great shop, if you took some time to hang out you could get a lot of info about fishing anywhere. I shop at both LRO and the Creel, and I don't see how anyone could do better than Scott.

Yes, several times. And I never had a good experience. But that was not my point.

I agree with jeffnles1. It takes more than a fly fisherman to run a fly shop.

billyspey
02-25-2008, 11:09 PM
i hate you had a bad experence with the creel , scott is a great guy some time personalitys clash. not many fly shops are having a easy go at this time.
every maker wants more sku out the door if its not your door it's next door. the biggest whore in the business ,orvis they will open a store next door and put catalogs in your store so they can sale your client their product direct. and come out with the latest and greatest and drop in 3to5 yrs. the ones who caused this crazy life time warranty and prices to go out the roof on rods.before top rods were $300. just how many rods can one afford at $775.
rods companys need to help out with mid price quality rods.

Troutman
02-25-2008, 11:49 PM
It made me sick when I read the article on Sunday. I was just in the shop and talked with Scott last week. For over 10 years I've enjoyed visiting and being greeted by Sadie at the door, and made to feel at home by the staff. I try to support all the local "fly shops" and hate to see another close the doors. The Creel and all the staff will be missed by the Knoxville area FF community. I wish Scott and his family all the best.
I think I'll call him tomorrow and tell him myself. He's good people.

Paula Begley
02-26-2008, 12:03 AM
Scott and everyone who works at The Creel are our friends. Byron and I are torn up about it. I never want to see anyone have a dream end...and I am crushed to see another fly shop close, especially, another one, owned by a friend.

Paula

ttas67
02-26-2008, 01:52 PM
this is sad. although I didn't visit the creel very often, I did buy my first fly rod there back when I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Scott took me out in the parking lot, right by the Arby's drive-thru, and taught me how to cast.

JimmyC
02-26-2008, 03:32 PM
I only went to the Creel maybe five or six times. This was really because LRO and others are closer to me (not the only reason, of course, but a big one). But I can say this: without a doubt one of the classiest places I've ever visited. Scott was so nice and helpful, always ready to kid around and just talk. I'll miss them, wish I would have gotten to know them better!

RNGIII
02-26-2008, 05:35 PM
I just found out about the Creel in reading the Fishing Report. I just bought a new pair of sunglasses from Scott last week. I sat in the shop for a good hour chatting with Scott and a couple of other fisherman. I'm speechless and heartbroken. A good book of all the stories told on those wooden chairs would be awesome. It was my frequent stop on my way to the Clinch just like LRO is for me when I go to the park.

A thought for Byron. A second location called "Little River Outfitters 'The Creel'" would be an awesome idea. A huge undertaking for sure. ;)

Byron Begley
02-26-2008, 05:49 PM
I remember the first time I walked into the Creel. I lived in Nashville at the time. Don waited on me. He was a nice guy. Scott bought the shop, Don was there, Will Littlejohn, then Jim and Jim, Mike and all the other staff that I got to know over the years. Scott and I became friends even though we were actually competitors. I don't think he or I looked at it that way. The Creel was doing well and we were doing well. Before Maryville got an Office Depot I would stop in the Creel and see everyone maybe twice a month and sit in those chairs and pet on Sadie. I talked to Scott this morning and it made me feel better. He sounded good. But I am sad for them and some other friends who have closed their shops. I am also sad for the Creel customers. There is going to be a void that can't be filled. It just doesn't seem right. But I can tell you this and Scott will back me up, when those big stores opened we knew it. It hurt us a lot. I was scared to death. And I am not over it yet.

Byron

Jswitow
02-26-2008, 07:07 PM
I was tempted to try to post this on every listing on the site. Byron and Paula are so gracious to host this site. You two really need to take advantage of the exposure more. Get ad revenue from suppliers as other sites do......... seriously!!!!!!!! Next; WE NEED to support this shop so that we may enjoy their expertise when we need it. If you use a product that you don't see in the store let them know about it, more than likely they will see the benefit of the product and put it in the store (armed with features and benefits information to sell the product). This is one of the nicest flyshops in the country, lets keep it here! I for one will be ordering more stuff on-line from LRO, taking advantage of the free shipping. They ship quickly and accurately.
Seriously though Byron, Paula and Daniel; start using this board more as a mraketing tool. Put a bill board with rotating banners right at the top like say the Itinerant Angler does, put new products up there, advertise your schools and dates. Dog eat dog............. don't get eaten, I know you all can do this and a tasteful manner.
Buy local every chance you get. Especially in your fly-fishing gear.
My 2 cents.
John

tennswede
02-26-2008, 09:37 PM
I have debated all night with myself about this topic, but I feel that I need to put my two cents in. First of all I will say that I bought my first serious outfit from Scott in 1995. I was very impressed by the gentleman working the store at the time and I spent quite a bit of money up until about the millennium change. I gradually moved over to the internet and LRO. I have to say that like UofMontanalum I'm not surprised. I'm not going to stand here on a competitors board and trash somebody else but I'm with the critics. I'm not surprised that The Creel is folding. I don't necessarily believe it is the faults of Bass Pro or the internet either. I have experience from the Creel which explains exactly why he couldn't make it. I'm don't want to put it out here on the board but I know of many people who would have supported The Creel if they had the sales skills and friendliness of the LRO staff and especially Daniel Drake.

I believe fully that the reason LRO makes it so far is the staff. It's not the price of their goods. It' not the inventory it's just their willingness to make you feel welcome. It' s the fact that you can walk in there and spend $5 dollars or $500 and you feel as welcome in either case. If you don't understand that the guy who spends five dollars today might spend five hundred tomorrow, is as important as the big spender up front then you are doomed.

ijsouth
02-26-2008, 11:10 PM
There is quite a discussion about this particular fly shop closing, and the economics of small shops versus big-box in general, out in the ether. On one blog, I used the example of Wal-Mart and groceries. When Wallyworld entered the grocery business, a lot of the established supermarket chains couldn't handle it. Around here, one local chain and one regional chain went under, and another (Winn-Dixie) is in sad shape. However, at the same time, a lot of single, neighborhood-type stores started to flourish as well - they could provide the local items (like good seafood, local vegetables, etc) that are so much a part of the culture down here, and that Wal-Mart could never deliver. The key is that these local stores have products and service that enable them to more than hold their own against the big boxes (plus, have you ever bought meat from Wal-Mart? Tougher than a truck stop waitress). Anyway, I believe it is a similar situation with the fly-fishing business, although it's probably the service that is the difference - after all, everyone is selling the same gear now, at the same prices. The presence on the web makes a huge difference for someone like me, who loves going after the wild trout but who lives a long way from any trout water. I probably buy 90% of my gear online - the other 10% I buy on site at LRO when I'm up in the mountains

Grumpy
02-28-2008, 09:29 AM
Folks, no matter how you look at it, everytime you order from a BOX, you push the knife in a lil deeper, it's just that simple.
Some shops appeal to some, other's hate them, i haven't been in one local shop yet that i couldn't find something to like, BOX stores, i found some Lodge cookware once:eek:

Grumpy

tennswede
02-28-2008, 11:37 AM
Grumpy!

I look at it from another point of view. My dad was a businessman his whole life. He always had to fight the big "guys" and he had many sleepless nights over it. He managed to survive though. He didn't do it by competing with prices but with service and knowledge and sometimes luck. I think he became a better businessman due to the competition. My point is that if you are able to charge anything you want and don't have to be friendly and knowledgeable and treat your customers like they are not worthy of being in your store , then you don't deserve my money. I have seen many fly shops like that. I don't believe in the notion that just becasue they sell fly gear, they are automatically supposed to get a "free pass". I'm not saying The Creel was the worst out there but I didn't recommend them after about the year 2000. I have my reasons and I won't go in to it here.

LRO will not have this problem because they treat everyone the same. It is not more complicated than that. I used to be on the anti Wal-Mart bandwagon but not anymore. Supply and demand is the game. I have been to countless independent stores of all types and many of them won't even have a clerk looking at you. Why would I then shop there and pay more than Wal-Mart. If you own an indpendent store you need to set your self apart from the big guys. LRO has done that and therefore will be around for a long time.

Paula Begley
02-28-2008, 12:06 PM
As the English poet, John Milton said, "Luck is a residue of design."

We aren't counting on luck...we are working on the design part. ;)

Paula

rainshaker
02-28-2008, 12:46 PM
LRO will not have this problem because they treat everyone the same. It is not more complicated than that. I used to be on the anti Wal-Mart bandwagon but not anymore. Supply and demand is the game. I have been to countless independent stores of all types and many of them won't even have a clerk looking at you. Why would I then shop there and pay more than Wal-Mart. If you own an indpendent store you need to set your self apart from the big guys. LRO has done that and therefore will be around for a long time.

You're right, Hans...

In this under-appreciated concept of a "free and open market place" the consumer ultimately decides which stores stay open. Thank you

Grumpy
02-28-2008, 12:46 PM
Hans

A poorly run business will eventually shut it's doors, buying from a BOX is still pushing the knife into other shops that are on par, one purchase at a time it, even affect's LRO.

Grumpy

rainshaker
02-28-2008, 02:30 PM
Wal-mart was once a one-man operation, so was Papa John's pizza, and 1000 other "success stories." Often we hear "Support local business" but we never hear "support local business; that is until they go public." Unfortunately, we can't logically have it two ways because, eventually successful businesses grow.


I guess it's all in how you define "success"

tennswede
02-28-2008, 03:25 PM
Paula!

I don't necessary mean that you run your store on luck. I do know however enough about business that some amount of luck has to come in to play. My dad exemplified this several times when he came in to a customer to try to make a sale. (He was a wholesaler). A few times one of the big guys had just been there and sold a bunch. The small client couldn't buy more that day so my dad was out of luck with that client that particular day. On another visit it might work the opposite. Dad beat the big guy to the sale. Luck certainly played here. Dad was in business between 1968-2004. He can tell you some stories.

tennswede
02-28-2008, 03:31 PM
Grumpy!

Your basic concept is true to a certain degree when you say if they are on par with each other the smaller one could be hurt. This however is the natue of free markets. If Wal-Mart becomes too big for their own good some customers will desert. I think to a certain degree this is true already. I believe it's good with competition otherwise we become complacent. I will not continue this because I don't feel we should get too long winded here, I will end with that I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that it is fundamentally wrong to shop at a major retailer. If that's not the point of your opinion, please accept my apology and I will gladly listen to your explanation.

Paula Begley
02-28-2008, 04:16 PM
tennswede, that quote wasn't directed to you in particular.

As your father no doubt found, while "luck is a residue of design," you must be prepared for luck.

Paula

tennswede
02-28-2008, 07:08 PM
Paula!

Caffeine overdose, slight overreaction on my part. I over analyzed the post. Sorry.

sammcdonald
02-28-2008, 07:33 PM
byron hit on a big part of it.....kids are no longer outdoors....i remember playing in the hog pen and stinking....but everybody laughed....
there is a great book....Last Child in the Woods...........that looks at this future of our world.

buckeyetrouter
02-28-2008, 08:02 PM
to exagerate a Woody Hayes phrase.......In the case of LRO, I believe luck is the point where hard work - suffering - knowledge of people - and a love of the sport all intersect and the results are dynamic....Congrats as always LRO......

hey Hans, gonna be down in the sping and hoping you can show me some of your brookie spots.......

buckeyetrouter

tennswede
02-28-2008, 10:06 PM
Buckeye!

email when you get closer to the time. I usually fish once a week from March until October. ahlstedt@knology.net

nvr2L8
02-29-2008, 12:04 AM
More than 30 years ago, my brother-in-law gave me a beautiful Pflueger Medalist fly reel for Christmas (one of those still built in Arkansas). I went to a local sporting goods store that majored in lake fishing and hunting but had some small selection of fly fishing equipment. I bought a Wright and McGill 7' 6wt fly rod, mostly because I already had a Wright and McGill 5 ft Ultra-Light spinning rod and this 7 footer looked gigantic. Well, I had no idea what to do with this rod and reel that I had and no one in the store where I bought it really offered to help me understand. So both rod and reel sat at home gathering dust for over 30 years and I kept on spin fishing.

After a lesson at LRO, Glenn took me around and helped put together an entire rig with a rod to fit my Pflueger reel, line, leader, and tippet and helped me understand how it all fit together. In the end, I had something that I could take out on the stream and start fishing with. After working with that rig a while, I understood more how a slightly different set up would fit the kind of fishing I had come to enjoy. In the second round, Paula graciously walked me through the same process and I left with another rig that was exactly what I wanted and needed.

Point is, the bigger the store, the tougher it is for particularly a beginner to get the kind of attention and instruction on what to buy, how it fits together and how to even assemble all the pieces of a well-balanced rig. The selection and price can be great, but without the personal attention and service it's just more dust bait. I still have no idea what I'll do with a 7' 6wt rod even though it is a beautiful thing to look at - now going on 35 years old and still dry. Merchandise without service is just not enough - and folks who are equally comfortable talking to a 55 year old novice and a little girl who just wants a Barbie Bug Pin, without being condescending with either, are simply priceless.

monktrout
02-29-2008, 08:14 AM
Nvr2late, Good post. I came to fly fishing at 40. That was 16 years ago. Only wish I had started earlier. I have spent plenty at fly shops and bigger operations. There have been many helpful personnel and store owners. Sometimes you encounter someone who thinks they invented fly fishing. Our sport does not need any more snobs in the shops or on the river. Thankfully these people are few. LRO exemplifies the best in this business. Always helpful and considerate of your real needs. I hate to see the Creel close. Scott was always good to me.

mikebone
02-29-2008, 08:36 AM
When I first went into the Creel nearly twenty years ago it was jammed into a tiny space with poor lighting, orange shag carpet, and maybe ten rods on the wall. Scott took over and made it into a very good fly shop and for the first time in it's history, a successful business, and he ran it that way for over a decade. That is something to be proud of. Scott is probably the only person who knows the real reasons it will be closing, for my part, it doesn't really matter. All I know is I will miss The Creel a great deal, and so will a lot of other people who may or may not know it yet. It will be like saying goodbye to an old friend. The rate fly shops and all outdoor specialty stores are closing is alarming. Everyone is right to be concerned about our children. One day when the constant barrage of text messaging, myspace, and internet surfing is not enough and they turn back to the outdoors to find solace, I can only hope there will be someone left to teach them. There are no easy answers or quick fixes, we can only do our best. And I think Scott Rogers did his.

CinciVol
02-29-2008, 09:22 AM
Scott and Jeff, If you guys happen to read this post, I really liked the Creel. Bought my first FF outfit there and many, many tailwater flies afterwards. The tips they gave me on when/where/why/how almost always resulted in more fish than I'd have caught otherwise. Thanks for the service over the years!

I agree with all of the prior posters, lets not let this happen to LRO. I'm going to try to make a commitment to buying all of my FF stuff from them (online or in store)!

Byron Begley
02-29-2008, 07:48 PM
Mike,

You speak the truth and you speak it well. I remember when I met you. I was in a fly shop in Gatlinburg maybe 25 years ago. I may be wrong about the time, the years have flown by. Let me know how long it has been. You were sitting behind the counter and you showed me a bamboo rod that you had just made. It was beautiful. Paula and I both have enjoyed your friendship for a long time. Of course Bob is a favorite too. Scott told me the other day we should rent a house and make 200 keys. I told him to count us in. We'll pay our part. The house should be on a river though.

Your Friend,

Byron

Jswitow
03-03-2008, 12:52 AM
I have to say that I felt like I had lost a friend. Scott and his crew were always helpful to me. I caught my first nice trout on a Sulphur on the Clinch with Scott's advice. He also did anything he could for our TU chapter. I stopped by Friday and felt like I was going to visitation, same pit in my stomach.... Can't recall ever feeling a sense of loss at a business going out. I wish the best to Scott, Jeff and Chelsea. Still hope to get Scott out fishing one of these days.
Best,
John

golfballs03
03-07-2008, 11:12 AM
I know I'm coming in late on this threat, but couldn't help but to write about my disappointment over the closure of The Creel. I know that LRO & The Creel may be "competitors", but the fact that a local privately owned shop is closing up is sad news.

I started fly fishing about 3 years ago. I got outfitted at The Creel, and I immediately liked Scott and Jeff. They were friendly, helpful, and their local knowledge was invaluable. It's a reason I kept going back, and would even stop by when I was over that way just to talk.

I love to travel, and if they didn't already know about the area I was headed, they would tell me what shop and who to talk to. Stopping by a local fly-shop, chatting with the folks, learning a thing or two, and buying some flies is all part of a great travel experience. I get the same when I make the trek to the mountains and visit LRO.

LRO has adapted well to the changing business climate, but I hope people don't give up on their local shops. Small business is one truly great thing about our country, and I will drive out of my way and pay a little bit more if thats what it takes to preserve these great institutions.

ChemEAngler
03-09-2008, 08:37 PM
I remember the first time I walked into the Creel. I lived in Nashville at the time. Don waited on me. He was a nice guy. Scott bought the shop, Don was there, Will Littlejohn, then Jim and Jim, Mike and all the other staff that I got to know over the years. Scott and I became friends even though we were actually competitors. I don't think he or I looked at it that way. The Creel was doing well and we were doing well. Before Maryville got an Office Depot I would stop in the Creel and see everyone maybe twice a month and sit in those chairs and pet on Sadie. I talked to Scott this morning and it made me feel better. He sounded good. But I am sad for them and some other friends who have closed their shops. I am also sad for the Creel customers. There is going to be a void that can't be filled. It just doesn't seem right. But I can tell you this and Scott will back me up, when those big stores opened we knew it. It hurt us a lot. I was scared to death. And I am not over it yet.

Byron


Byron,
You are taking me on a walk down memory lane. You are throwing out some names I haven't heard in a while. Scott and John Emert gave me a shot at tying flies for the shop at the ripe old age of 13 and I have been thankful ever since. I have been out of state for most of this month, but when I heard they were closing I had to make a special trip back to see Scott one more time before he closed the doors one last time. I will miss stopping by there to chat about recent fishing trips.

I really think that one place where The Creel missed out is capturing the internet shoppers like you have done. We have become a society of convenience and we feel like it is additional work to pick up a phone to order something when you can just click a button and it is on its way.

Travis

Byron Begley
03-11-2008, 06:23 PM
Travis,

I moved here in 1991. I was asked by the State Council of Trout Unlimited to form a new Chapter to work specifically with the Park Service. They gave me a list of names of members in Blount County. There were not many back then. John Emert was on that list. I was looking for something to do and missed being in business. I contacted John and asked for a meeting. This was before we bought LRO and before Paula and I were married. I’m also pretty sure this was before Scott was working at the Creel. I told John I wanted to buy the Creel. He didn’t take me too seriously at the time and he turned me down. He probably thought I couldn’t afford it. I bet I was wearing blue jeans, a T-shirt and driving my old Chevy pickup truck.

Since then John and I have become close friends. He spent the night in a condo with me and some of my buddies last year in Florida on a tarpon trip. Paula and I occasionally go out to dinner with John and Sonya. John is also my dentist so I see him every three months in his office. He is a customer here in the shop. He is a great guy.

Every once in a while we joke about me trying to buy the Creel. I always say that I’m glad he turned me down. I would be driving to Knoxville and back every day if we had made a deal. My commute now is about 5 minutes.

I don’t think many people know this story. It’s funny how things turn out in life.

Byron

nvr2L8
03-11-2008, 06:56 PM
John Emert, brother of Joe?

If it's the same guys, their grandparents, Rollo and Ruth Emert, were old friends of our family from the Campground Methodist Church there in Townsend and owners of what was once a little red log cabin just beyond the church towards LRO. Ruth played organ from time to time at the church, always with great gusto.

Turns out a guy that I worked with in Oak Ridge, Jim Calfee, bought the Emert's place and turned it into a BIG red cabin - small world.

The Emerts were good folks.

Byron Begley
03-11-2008, 07:00 PM
Charlie,

Same guys. They are all nice people. Easy to be friends with.

Byron