Travel Talk Farlow’s to be sold

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  • #554804

    stevel
    Participant

    Oz visitors to London will have one less iconic fishing place to visit – Farlow’s of Pall Mall.
    Although I don’t buy much stuff from Farlow’s anymore, preferring their online site Sportsfish for consumables, it was still nice to go in at a lunchtime to pick up bits and bobs for an upcoming trip and chat with old faces like stalwart Brian Fratel, who has been there since I first visited in the early 90’s (and much earlier).
    A great shame, but commonplace these days as buyers prefer more and more the convenience (and lower costs) of virtual internet stores rather than traditional fly shops.

    #571823

    mitch aka 2 fish
    Participant

    and wheatley’s has gone into liquidation… 😐

    the sky is falling.

    #571824

    Greywulff
    Participant
    quote mitch aka 2 fish:

    and wheatley’s has gone into liquidation… 😐

    the sky is falling.

    Has been bought out by an American manufacturer. Hardys is also up for sale.

    #571876

    exmouthbound
    Participant
    quote stevel:

    Oz visitors to London will have one less iconic fishing place to visit – Farlow’s of Pall Mall.
    Although I don’t buy much stuff from Farlow’s anymore, preferring their online site Sportsfish for consumables, it was still nice to go in at a lunchtime to pick up bits and bobs for an upcoming trip and chat with old faces like stalwart Brian Fratel, who has been there since I first visited in the early 90’s (and much earlier).
    A great shame, but commonplace these days as buyers prefer more and more the convenience (and lower costs) of virtual internet stores rather than traditional fly shops.

    Great great shame that Stevel.

    Like you was always the place to go, sometimes I would just but a fly or two, but the atmosphere was all and great knowledgeable staff.

    But I guess I’m as much to blame. Since ‘online’ came about my visits came to a halt really, so shame on me. 🙁

    Cheers Tony.

    #571883

    GR
    Participant

    I was there yesterday and spoke to a staff member. He said they were to be sold but the store was not being closed. So hopefully he is right.

    #571887

    exmouthbound
    Participant

    Fingers crossed mate this is the case. s:up

    Would be a great shame it went by the wayside.

    Cheers Tony.

    #571889

    stevel
    Participant
    quote GR:

    I was there yesterday and spoke to a staff member. He said they were to be sold but the store was not being closed. So hopefully he is right.

    From Classic Angling magazine where this information came from : “It seems unlikely that the huge retail outfit … will be retained as a fishing shop”. With the European & American economies in the state that they are, and luxury items such as high end fishing tackle taking a back step it is no wonder (especially on Prime real estate such as Pall Mall), that the directors with losses to the tune of £138k last year are cutting their losses and running. It seems like across the board, whereas once companies would sit out bad times, that they are just shutting up shop. Time to go fishing I think..

    #571890

    stevel
    Participant
    quote exmouthbound:

    quote stevel:

    Oz visitors to London will have one less iconic fishing place to visit – Farlow’s of Pall Mall.
    Although I don’t buy much stuff from Farlow’s anymore, preferring their online site Sportsfish for consumables, it was still nice to go in at a lunchtime to pick up bits and bobs for an upcoming trip and chat with old faces like stalwart Brian Fratel, who has been there since I first visited in the early 90’s (and much earlier).
    A great shame, but commonplace these days as buyers prefer more and more the convenience (and lower costs) of virtual internet stores rather than traditional fly shops.

    Great great shame that Stevel.

    Like you was always the place to go, sometimes I would just but a fly or two, but the atmosphere was all and great knowledgeable staff.

    But I guess I’m as much to blame. Since ‘online’ came about my visits came to a halt really, so shame on me. 🙁

    Cheers Tony.

    Tony,
    Yes it’s a crying shame. Big box stores in the US like Cabelas and BassPro, as well as all the internet only stores on super low margins have been closing fly tackle stores all over.
    I do buy from the internet (for consumables, clothing, bags, etc), but from stores that also have a bricks and mortar presence, even when the prices are higher. It would be a real loss if they went altogether, a loss of history. It’s one of the reasons that I now mostly only buy rods, reel, lines hand made now, supporting the small makers.

    Cheers,
    Steve

    #571894

    exmouthbound
    Participant

    Good for you Steve, s:up

    Like you say would be a great loss if some of these great tackle stores went to the wall, not only for that ‘personal’ touch, but like you say ‘Bricks and Mortar’ which equates to history.

    You’ve certainly made me question my future fishing purchases mate, and pricked my conscience, 😳 fair play to you Steve. 😉

    Cheers Tony.

    #572338

    RobV
    Participant

    I popped into Farlows yesterday and no one knew anything about this – they are certainly not closing…

    #572342

    Jeroen
    Participant
    quote mitch aka 2 fish:

    and wheatley’s has gone into liquidation… 😐

    the sky is falling.

    No, the world is changing, that’s all. I used to love my wheatleys, good old rustbuckets..

    #572362

    Peter
    Participant

    In a way it’s a shame, I guess, but a lot of these iconic old stores were opened and grown in an age when there was a class with time , money and inclination to buy, say, fishing tackle – and who couldn’t give a damn what it cost. Same applied to firearms!

    Times change. the day of the obligate wholesaler is gone, and manufacturers are usually keen to grab a dollar from whomever it’s offering.

    I was once told by a semi-local tackle dealer that from a certain point onward I would have to buy all my components, then sourced direct from the US firm with whom I dealt ( and had been dealing for some 10 years or so ) from the person who was now the "Australian agent" – which turned out to have the factual basis of about Alice in Wonderland. What that would have meant in real terms is that the "agent" would hold practically no stock, order would be by indent as needed, and supplies would take weeks or months to be delivered.

    Incidentally, the price would have about doubled as well!

    I rang the owner of the US company and complained, only to find that not only had no such deal ever been forged, but that he had specified a large group of old customers in this country who would continue to be supplied. Out and out lie by the local!

    I would not have minded buying from the local agent, but for the twin facts that (a) he lied to me and (2) the price was just doubled plus GST on larger orders, were enough to get my back up! On the other hand THC would be a company I would be happy to use, and will use, because they have a very different business ethic and are totally lacking in smarminess and snake oil.

    So I am afraid that while a little of the 1930’s cachet of dealing with shops where your needs are attended to by "our Mr Cholmondeley" might still be nice, you bloody well pay dearly for the privilege. It is interesting to note the resurgence of the old gunsmithing and sporting tackle brands in places like Moscow – these places need a new crop of oil billionaires or the like to keep the money flowing in.

    Cheers

    Peter

    And so, to a degree, do the manufacturers.

    #572365

    Daniel
    Participant

    Probably worth noting the changes in Farlows over the last 15 years also, though. When i first visited it was one of the coolest, old-school shops around – a real destination. My last visit two years ago it had moved, grown in size, and looked as big-box as all the rest in its offerings.

    #572368

    Jeroen
    Participant

    In the 1970’s and early 80’s, Hardy and Farlow’s on Pall Mall were the mecca for aspiring fly fishos like myself. They had a hint of being high brow (well, more than a hint), but when the sales people picked up that you were a fly fishing fanatic, you could have wonderful conversations with the staff, some of which eager and willing to share some of the store’s and brand history with you. My trump card was a picture of my dad and Leslie Moncrief, the sea tackle designer for Hardy. They fished together on festivals in Hastings, in the late 1940’s and early ’50’s. When I started out writing in 1985, a visit to Hardy Pall Mall landed me an invitation to a weekend press meeting in Alnwick. The brands meant something in those days.
    My last visit to Farlow’s was a big deception, as the store had become a fishing supermarket. I won’t bother now. These wonderful stores belonged in that era. The world has changed, but fortunately there still are some people in the tackle business with a sense of tradition and a mission to contribute something to fly fishing history.

    Cheers,
    Jeroen

    #572423

    stevel
    Participant

    The Farlow’s that was, was bought by Sportfish the Mail order and internet store in Hereford & Reading. The Farlow’s store of old is not in this new fangled modern tackle store, but the old ingly-dingly tackle store on the other side of Regent’s Street in an old arcade.
    It’s definitely not that store anymore, and probably a good thing as a lot of stuffed shirts were eventually replaced by young hotshots (and not so hot). Happily some of the stalwarts like Brian Fratel (OBE) remained, as down to earth as when I first walked into that store 20 years ago asking advice on some fly tackle and instruction for tame trout in Syon Park.
    S

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