Let me start by saying I love Orvis. When I started fly fishing in the early 1990's I started with Orvis and have been "with" them since. I have met a ton of great people that both work for or associate with the brand as customers. But it always hasn't been perfect. Some products are just so-so with me, sometimes my dealings as an Orvis Endorsed guide leave me frustrated and well, angry, and sometimes I question the direction the company takes as far as marketing and business decisions go.
That said......I love the history of the company, I love the one stop shopping the company allows me and its customers, and I do like how they are changing with an industry that is changing everyday, and all of the Orvis employees from corporate, to customer service, to those in the retail stores are great.
So......last night I attended a kick off at their new store on 5th Avenue. It was called "Fishermans Happy Hour". Store manager Doug Lopez and fly fishing manager Rob Ceccarini know how to put on a party. The event went from 530-730 and it was more a meet and greet then a presentation type
visit that I had become accustomed to. On hand were some great clients and customers who joined Upper Delaware guide Joe DeMalderis, FFF casting guy Craig Buckbee, author Peter Kaminsky, and sick fish and fishing artist Mike Sudal. As people took the climb upstairs to the fly fishing "loft" they
grabbed a cold beer and watched as Peter unveiled his striped bass "cooked" in a pile of salt. He broke the salt open with a hammer and served it up with olive oil. I thought about boycotting a sample, since this was a striped bass that was caught wild, but I let my tree-hugger side go and enjoyed it.
Craig had a vice (Regal of course) set up and entertained a crowd as he tied up a bunch of streamer patterns. Mike colored up a ink drawing of a Delaware brown trout he caught when he fished with Joe D on a spring float trip. Joe D mingled and touched base with some old and soon to be new clients. For me, well, I worked the crowd, but really enjoyed just drinking, and always had my eye on the coolers to see how much beer was left. I had the projector set up but it wasn't that kind of evening, people just walked and talked which was nice. In the end several people sign up for the Orvis Saltwater 301 class I'm holding October 18th at IBSP which I am really looking forward to. (continued)
So, now, lets talk about the new store, really, the new fly fishing department. Hate it. If you had been to the old store you entered the single level retail space and walked through the lifestyle section and entered the back of the store which was all fly fishing. It had a great lodge kind of feeling....more fly shop then just retail space, and it had a good feng shui kind of flow and feel.
|Old Orvis fly fishing department|
The new store, located just up the street from the old store, has a great first floor lifestyle section and feel, and then you have to go upstairs to find the fly fishing section. It has nice displays taken from the other store, good product selection, but the space is just....well retail-ly and not warm and fuzzy at all. Low ceilings, interesting climate control, wierd flow......its just not the same. The Orvis NYC store, where ever it is located, is a huge draw for local customers and anglers, and is a destination for tourists from around the world. No matter where the store is located they will have a great experience because of the staff, no matter what space they are in. But, I feel visitors will be disappointed and leave feeling like they wanted more, as I did when I first made the climb last night upstairs.