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Fish business

April E. Clark

Sometimes people really do want something fishy for Christmas.”I’m looking for something for a flyfisherman who has everything,” Jesse Hamilton said as he perused Roaring Fork Anglers on Monday.In less than 15 minutes, Hamilton left the shop smiling after purchasing a “365 Flyfishing Days” desk calendar and a magnetic rod guard that allows an angler to rest a rod against a car without it falling to the ground.”I’m not a huge flyfisherman so I had a little trouble shopping, but they were very helpful,” Hamilton said. “The store has a lot of stuff here.”The Glenwood Springs store wants to be the best fly shop in Colorado, and its owners hope their new location helps prove it. In January, the full-service fly shop and outdoor adventure outfitter at 2114-B Grand Ave. will move across the street to its new store at 2205 Grand Ave., a former gas station. Owners Tony Fotopulos, Bruce Stolbach, Jeff Dysart, and John Hesselman allotted $75,000 for the re-model project, which they are contracting themselves.”We’re trying to create a buzz in the Colorado fly fishing community,” Dysart said. “There’s not been growth in the last few years for fly shops. We hope to provide one of the premier fly shops in Colorado, not just the Roaring Fork Valley.”Roaring Fork Anglers, established in 1980, doubles as a retail shop and flyfishing guide post. Experienced guides offer flyfishing trips within the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond to destinations such as Mexico and Belize. The store also sells an array of brightly colored flies, high-quality rods and flyfishing accessories ranging from calendars to outdoor clothing – a welcome sight for Hamilton, who was passing through Glenwood Springs from Vail.The fly fishing industry peaked a few years after “A River Runs Through It,” said Drew Reid, manager and instructor of Roaring Fork Anglers. “In our best year, between the two (Glenwood Springs and Carbondale) stores, we just cracked $1 million in revenue. Today, we’ve streamlined a bit and we’re still here. We have a little more destination appeal.”Reid, who has been manager at Roaring Fork Anglers for six years, said the new location will offer customers the opportunity to try before they buy.”The property has foot access to the river,” he said. “There’s better parking and better exposure. The retail space is slightly larger and it is part of the city’s property that includes the bike path and dog park.”Reid hopes to see the “fly shop” aspect of Roaring Fork Anglers and its Carbondale counterpart, Alpine Anglers, heightened to a new level in the coming months.”Flies are really big here and that’s why we call ourselves a ‘fly shop,'” he said. “They make up a good percentage of our sales and we are looking to expand our fly collection at our new location. We’ll probably have hundreds of different flies in all sizes and colors, as well as stuff to make flies.”Roaring Fork Anglers expects completion of its new location by mid-to-late January and is planning a grand opening celebration in March or April.


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