Kayak Fishing: Shop Local


by Mark Lozier, 1st Landing Kayak Fishing Service

You hear it all the time, “Shop Local” and it is something I believe we can all do to help our local economy. This is really an excellent practice when shopping for a new kayak and the gear that goes along with it. There are many great deals to be had online or in your local box stores, but after the purchase you’re on your own. Customer service and the sales staff you deal with in those types of shopping experiences more than likely don’t even user the product they are selling, with a few exceptions.

One of the greatest benefits of buying your gear at a local specialty shop is the knowledgable staff. The are well versed in the specific products they sell because they are active in the sport and have used these products. That’s not to say they have paddled every kayak, used every paddle and worn every life jacket, but they more than likely have used enough of the products and have a good understanding of them to help the consumer make an educated purchase. In my experience in the industry, I have participated in many “clinics” put on by manufacturers to introduce new products to staff. Brand reps spend hours and sometimes days training dealers on features and benefits of their products. You simply won’t find this type of expertise from the chain stores or from the voice over the phone taking your credit card info.

And, if you’d rather not brave traffic and prefer shopping from home, you can feel confident in buying online from your local dealer. Most have websites and can either chat online or answer your questions via phone while you relax in your home.

Another thing you gain by shopping locally is the one-on-one relationship you establish. In addition, most shops host all types of events throughout the season, from demo days where you get to try out products before you buy, to meet-up groups where you may go for a paddling trip, to in-store seminars where you can learn to rig a fish finder in your kayak or how to properly dress for the seasons.

Finally one the most important benefits is great customer service. It seems to be something you see less and less of these days but the local shops respect and value repeat customers. So going that extra mile and helping you with an issue over a purchase, a warranty claim, or even just getting you squared away with how something works isn’t their “job” it is their livelyhood and pleasure. Shopping Local isn’t just a slogan but something everyone can benefit from.

’Til Next Tide