A TOP independent tackle dealer tackle dealer has explained to Angler's Mail how he turned his shop's fortunes around.
Angling shop boss Wayne Gray has brought Bournemouth Fishing Lodge, in Dorset, back from the brink. And now it’s thriving!
His tale is another one that shows independent angling shop can succeed amidst modern pressures, including ever-growing web sales and chains.
Wayne told Angler’s Mail: “I bought the shop on September 27, 2017, just three days before it was going to close, due to a decline in business.
“It’s a rare thing these days, but the shop has been here for 48 years and is now doing better than it’s ever done before.
“We have long opening hours, closing at 8pm on Fridays.”
Angling shop thinks ‘outside the box’
Wayne continued: “We’re always thinking outside the box, such as having a Ladies Night at Christmas, weekend specials and a Facebook page with a following of over 3,100, though we don’t have a website.
“We spool line for free, and sponsor multiple matches and events.
“We collect used tackle for Lakewood Restoration, a project that teaches underprivileged kids how to fish.
“We held our first competition at Rockford Lakes, Ringwood, in December, and what a day it was! 41 guys competed in our pike competition, and we raised £1,000 for Lynch Syndrome UK (a cancer charity).
“We’re now planning a catfish competition and a pike winter league,” concluded Wayne, who runs the shop with wife, Jackie.
Shops battle for brighter future
Wayne’s story of a rare angling shop turnaround comes soon after we profiled efforts by another long-established store, Robertson’s.
Based on the edge of London, ‘Robbos’ is trying some ‘old school’ initiatives to get more customers through the door, and to keep them coming back.
And a number of tackle dealers have got together to form a new group, called AIR. They also aimed to turn the tide in their favour, whilst also helping the sport’s future.
Proactive shops’ efforts come off the back of challenging 2019, when noted stores including The Friendly Fisherman, closed their doors for last time.
Even Erics Angling Centre’s two branches disappeared. Its northern and southern branches, plus online business, were swallowed up by leading tackle chain, Angling Direct, who are maintaining their expansion.
And another mail order and online giant, Fishtec, also called time its retail business.
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