I used to have a local fly shop that I loved. I would go there and spend too much money. It was a few times a week kind of addiction. The owner was one of my great friends in this world and I owe / curse him for ruining my life with this fishing addiction.
But is it really healthy to be suckered into the whole "buy local" movement? I don't know about you, but my budget isn't as large as it should be. Life gets in the way of those new rods and reels, and when I'm in the market, I have to do some shopping for the best price. If my local shop and Cabela's have the same piece of equipment and the price at Cabela's is a hundred bucks better, guess where I'm shopping.
Have you been in a shop of any kind where they give you the hard sell using the "buy local" tactic? Funny how I usually get it when I'm out of town. I'm in some tourist driven mecca where "buy local" wouldn't happen if only locals shopped there. I'm always asking the proponent of the shop if their product was made locally. Was that fly rod made right there in BFE, Nowhere? Usually, crickets are the answer. No, the product isn't made locally. The rod came from Colorado (hopefully) or the Puget Sound region, or quite often they were made overseas. The flies we fish with were tied in Indochina and the waders were either made in Montana or more likely, in China.
So, why the hard sell to buy local? Did you know that most items at your local fly shop are being sold at a FIFTY PERCENT MARKUP??? Yeah, for real. I've worked in a lot of fly shops and that's how they make money. Do you think many fly shop owners are loaded? The answer is no. They buy that pack of hooks for 5 bucks and sell it for 10. Sure, there's business overhead- rent, labor, shipping, etc., but unless that local shop is doing something to help make you a better angler, you shouldn't feel guilty about shopping for the best deal.
I hope you're not taking this the wrong way. If Steve were still selling bugs and gear, I'd be there this afternoon to pay him for being there. He would have made it the right price to hook me up with the gear. He would have made some money and I would have supported him while keeping my budget intact. I just can't get behind that shop owner that thinks I owe him since he's the local guy.
What I'm saying is this: go down to your local shop and see what's up. They should have the pot of coffee on, the tying table set up, and they should have someone working there that gives a shit about fishing. It should be more than walking in and grabbing a mystery bug before paying and leaving -total time spent of less than a minute. Let's expect our local shops to step it up and grow the sport.