Lure them in.
That’s what owners of Orvis, a new high-end fishing store north of Coeur d’Alene, hope to do.
Orvis, with more than 500 dealers worldwide and a large mail-order business, makes fishing equipment, clothing, luggage and gifts.
The Vermont-based company, in business since the mid-1800s, is the oldest mail-order company in the country, said store owner Bill Robinette.
The 3,500-square-foot store, across from Silver Lake Mall, is owned by Bill and Mary Robinette and Bob and Mary Drummond with their son, Bobby, all of Hayden Lake.
Bill Robinette, an avid fly-fisherman since 1988, envisioned a market for the local store five years ago. With fishing partner Bob Drummond, they formed Northwest Outfitters, then hooked their families on the business.
Bobby Drummond, 28, said he has been fly-fishing “since I was about this big,” dropping his right hand below his knee.
Robinette became interested in Orvis because of the brand name and product quality. Competing with at least five other retail fishing stores in the area, he said the Orvis outlet still fills a void in the market.
The families purchased the land at Highway 95 and Canfield last year from Hecla Mining Co. and built the 11,000 square-foot building. Orvis occupies about one-fourth of the space.
At Thursday’s grand opening, customers milled through displays of popper peeper flies, craneflies and wooly buggers. Reels range from $160 to $500; fishing vests from $29 to $125.
Customers watched G.L. Britton, local fly-fisherman and guide, tie flies.
One Orvis selling point is product guarantee. On Thursday Bud Frasca, a “hard-core angler” who said he owns more than 300 fly rods and 1,000 reels, brought in two reels to ship to Orvis for repairs. One reel is 32 years old.
Robinette said area residents have a special attraction for fly fishing. “In the Inland Northwest we’re within a day’s drive of the best fishing in the United States.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
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