|Downtown Flagstaff won't be quite the same without Babbit's fly shop.|
Anglers in Northern Arizona will soon have an opportunity to find out. Flagstaff's one and only dedicated fly shop, Babbit's Fly Fishing, is closing its doors.
I took the news hard. It was a shop that I frequented in college, when I was wet behind the ears. During my years at the Grand Canyon, Babbit's was still my local shop - being just eighty miles down the road. I was always on a tight budget, but I bought what I needed from them. In turn the guys at the shop were always there to answer my questions, provide beta on the local streams and swap stories with.
I tried calling the shop today, hoping to speak with Paul - the shop's longtime manager - about the store's closing, but the number had already been disconnected. It's purely speculation on my part, but it seems a pretty safe bet that the shop is closing for financial reasons. Between the recession and the fact that more and more anglers are making their purchases online, it'd be awfully tough to keep a fly shop out of the red these days - particularly in a non-destination location such as Flagstaff.
Local, independent fly shops are the heart and soul of the fly fishing industry. To those of you who are doing all of your shopping at the local big box sporting goods stores and online retailers - shame on you, support your local fly shop!