Local Orvis Dealer Standing Ground As Corporate Store Moves In
For years, Albemarle Angler has been the exclusive dealer of Orvis products in the area, but that's about to change.
In Charlottesville and surrounding areas, fly fishing is quite popular and a lucrative business for those selling equipment. Now Orvis is turning on its only dealer in the area.
The Albemarle Angler has been a Barracks Road Shopping Center staple for 15 years. The fly fishing and lifestyle store is home to many products - but one brand makes up a quarter of annual sales.
"We are the Orvis store in Charlottesville," said Albemarle Angler owner Carson Oldham.
Oldham says he has a lock on the Orvis market in the area. The closest stores are in Harrisonburg and at Short Pump Town Center in Richmond.
But in November, Oldham got a disturbing e-mail saying the company he's doing business with will open its own store at the shops at Stonefield.
"We are fearful. We do believe it could have a substantial impact on our business and it may make it difficult," Oldham.
Orvis can sell more of its products in the new store at a cheaper price. Business experts say Orvis likely has done independent research which indicates that more money - more profit - can be pulled from the community.
"It's a little unusual for an organization that has had a long-term relationship with a small provider to then decide that they're going to move into that very market," said Greg Fairchild, an associate professor of business administration at the University of Virginia.
As the Orvis open date approaches, Oldham is now focusing on customer service and making sure his loyal patrons understand that he's not going anywhere.
"We offer more services. We have a lot more options being an independent dealer so people have a lot more things available to them here," said Oldham.
The Albemarle Angler will continue to have Orvis products. Oldham says the company has offered the Angler more discounts and flexibility when selling the merchandise.
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