There are a number of fly shops around Puget Sound – somewhat fewer than one might expect given the population of the area – but losing one is always a time of sadness.
Today, Anil Srivastava, the owner of Puget Sound Fly Company (PSFC) announced that the shop will close after 20 years of business.
PSFC is, as the final day of business hasn’t been announced, one of the smaller shops in the area.
But it always had one of the fishiest feels as Anil and his staff always seemed to have in-depth knowledge about where to go for the best fishing. One could visit and many times see groups standing about talking with Anil or his staff about fishing; gear or possible sales never seemed to come up.
On the other hand, if you went in to buy something they knew their stuff. And if you wanted to test cast a rod, Anil (an FFI-certified fly casting instructor) would step out and offer tips on improving one’s cast.
The thing I always appreciated about Anil and his staff was they always remembered my name, even if I hadn’t been in the shop for many months (I feel the same about Blake at the Gig Harbor Fly Shop). That always made me feel as if I was being welcomed back as a friend. That’s rare in any business.
Anil hasn’t publicly stated his reasons for closing the business, but one can assume financial issues are a major reason.
People who own fly shops do so for love of the sport, rather than personal enrichment. An old saying is that if you want to make one million dollars owning a fly shop, start with two million.
Their location in Tacoma (they moved from Kent in 2010) was subject to a good deal of property crime. The costs of increased insurance costs, and upgrading security and other processes wore on Anil and his staff.
And the COVID lockdown was probably a fatal wound – another business to be lost from a poorly conceived response to the pandemic.
So, though the business will continue up its closing, best wishes for success and happiness in whatever comes next.