Why is the man pictured above smiling? Because he was celebrating his fly shop’s 32nd anniversary. His name is Steve McLaughlin and he owns Front Range Anglers. FRA — as we in Boulder affectionally call it — has moved and changed hands a number of times, but it’s one of the fly shops I grew up with, and it has been a part of my life and I’m sure many others for as long as I can remember.
It’s a quality shop that has everything. They’ve got a huge bug selection, great tying material, tons of rods and reels, a very informed and friendly staff, local guiding options, and a gorgeous newly renovated space.
I visited the shop on a Saturday a few weeks ago on “customer appreciation” day. I drank a complimentary beer or two, talked to friends, and chatted with the slew of angling “celebs” who Steve had in the shop for the occasion, like John Gierach, John Barr, and A.K. Best. It was a lot of fun. I feel lucky to have such a great shop in my hometown that’s been here for so long.
While we’ve seen a pretty big fall off in terms of “mom and pop” fly shops around the nation in the past 5 to 10 years, I know there still are many great shops out there. I’ve visited a great many shops in my travels, but am always curious to check out others I’ve missed.
What’s your local shop like? How long has it been around? And does anyone wanna give their favorite shop a shout-out?