Shop owner, Brian Smolinski, opened Lund’s Fly Shop upon the closing of Lund’s Hardware, a local darling that served the River Falls, Wisconsin (pop. 15,000) community from 1875-2011. The community is considered part of the Twin Cities metro area and is located in the fastest growing county in Wisconsin. River Falls is also home to the Kinnickinnic River, a class-A trout stream, and within 15 miles of both the St. Croix and Rush rivers. Brian had worked at the hardware store for ten years and before that had worked and managed a hardware store in St. Paul. Once at Lund’s, he thought he might take over the hardware store. Regular customers of Lund’s Hardware taught him fly fishing, however, and he fell in love with the fly shop aspect of the store.
While Brian was working at Lund’s Hardware in 2011, the store announced its closing. He secured a small business loan to purchase the fly shop inventory. During the hardware store closeout sale, Brian covered the fly shop area with black plastic. The store closed in November and Brian’s store, Lund’s Fly Shop- the namesake paying homage to its roots- opened in December about four blocks down on Main Street.
Lund’s Fly shop carries fly tackle, tying mats, conventional spinners, crawlers and worms in the summer, waxies in the winter… in the words of Brian, “a little bit of anything.” One online review was impressed that the store carries Snickers bars. What really makes this store a standout, however, is the fly tackle tyed by a dozen different local tyers. “No one else locally offers that” states Brian.
Fly shops are a small industry. Given this, the sales reps help the shop owners succeed and serve more of a consultant role proving to be excellent resources. Brian is happy to see the sport grow.
He also says that is not an easy business to run as an introvert, having to cater directly to his customers-most being from out of town. Given this, it is not surprising that the store’s About Us section of the website is blank with only contact information. However, I prefer to say that Brian is quiet and unassuming and am guessing that those things are welcome for most fishermen as they enter the 500 square foot store.
Lund’s Fly Shop is a perfect case of following one’s passion and niche enterprising.
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