Sage and Simms at Costco?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Philster, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. I couldn't agree more. The fly shop owners aren't as twisted up over this as the consumers are. I would love to hear the conversation between the customer and the Costco employee when the question " Which line would you use on this rod? " comes up.
  2. Some companies have inside employee sales people, other use independent (non-employee) sales reps. I use independent sales reps for my business as it is cheaper and they generate more sales than an employee working as an inside sales person. The reps live in the territory that they service so they have good relationships with the shops and know the business in their territory well. Plus, I save on travel expenses as I don't have to have an employee out in the field calling on customers and going to regional demos and events. If the rep doesn't perform, they don't get paid as they are 100% commission and I can fire them a whole lot more easily than an employee.

    However, a distributor is not a rep and visi versa. A distributor is a customer who buys at less than wholesale and then sells at wholesale to shops, often small shops who either can't meet a company's minimum purchase amount or who buy everything in small quantities and can save on shipping by buying everything through a stocking distributor. It can be tough to keep tabs on distributors and who they sell to. More than once, I have seen our stuff sold by some outfit that I knew nothing about and wasn't happy with and/or at way below MSRP so I'd guess that this is what happened to Sage and Simms as it has happened to me (just not at Costco).
  3. I absolutely agree. Once your selling to Cabelas etc. your loyalty to small shops has zero credit...
  4. My local shop carries both of those items and sells them at the MSRP, a practice I think is strongly regulated by both companies. Agreed, once you deal with one big box store your reputation as being a supporter of the local shop is tainted. Great products, overpriced because some can afford to pay for them. Now that they are at Costco, what is next? I hate to see these types of things everywhere. I like going to the local shop for such items when the time and savings supports it.
  5. I somewhat disagree. I think one difference is that Cabelas isn't selling the product at a reduced price, and therefore Sage and Simms aren't undercutting the small fly shop owners by creating double standards. Now if Sage and Simms didn't intentionally allow this, then they simply need to correct the problem (like Simms apparently is by buying back product). If they are allowing it, then they need to allow fly shop owners to offer discounted deals as well.
  6. Come on Kent, you're killing me here! Great stuff and I couldn't agree more. I was once an avid purchaser of outdoor equipment (my garage sale will be the talk of this neck of the woods) but what stopped me, finally, was quality. For all that Patagonia talks about quality, their stuff is made in the same factories as North Face, Columbia (which owns many of the smaller labels like Mountain Hardware). After about the fifth felt boot peeling off weeks after purchase, I realized Patagonia is more about "brand" and less about quality. All hat no cattle. I am extremely sympathetic to small stores, local folks on main street trying to make a living. But so am I and I don't feel like I should pay "premium" for a brand rather than quality. If the quality is good, than I will still search for a good price, because probably more than Sage or Simms, I need to protect my finances! But I think it's a mistake to link brand with quality and place of sale with anything but what it is.

    I mean, I could get in a snit about Patagonia being sold at REI, but I've long ago realized for these companies that churn out "new and improved" every year, it's more about the profit than it is the quality.

    The issue isn't, in my opinion, that Sage or Simms is "forcing the small fly shop owner to sell at MSRP, it's that Sage and Simms have more power than the small fly shop owner and can impose their will on them. I'm with Kent on this. My guess is Sage and Simms are not making as much as they used to, they look at Costco as the ultimate "impulse buy" place ("Look, honey, this must be a bargain, it's at Costco, and ya' know, I've always wanted to fly fish..."), so why not try it?

    Sorry to be so cynical.
  7. Long time no post Kim - thanks for weighing in on this one. Your comparisons of 'brands' vs. 'quality' and 'all hat' vs. 'no cattle' are spot on IMHO. Predicting consumer behavior is less science than it is art, so there's a lot of trial and error that goes on as companies struggle to hit the mark. If Costco moved rods and waders the same way it does TVs, the average fly shop would end up going the same way as the TV store.

    Let me know when you have that garage sale - I wanna be one of the first in line!

  8. Kesel's
  9. I saw this deal at my local Costco here in Utah a couple of weeks ago. I really doubt that Sage and Simms knew nothing of it. My bet, at least for Sage, is that the Z-axis is probably discontinued at the end of this year in favor of some new Nano-silica impregnated $800 replacement stick and this was just the first wave of a clearance sale. The Costco only had 9' 5wt rods, which incidentally is probably the rod that Sage has the most of lying around because it is the most popular and they made a million of them. Seems logical that they would start dumping them.

    I don't know anything about the Simms waders and I really don't care enough to call the manufacturer but it seems that every year, Costco sells very limited runs of high end stuff for a very short time (while supplies last) in a variety of genres and my bet is that Simms was a willing participant in the event.
  10. Don't worry Kent, I'll PM you when the garage/basement sale happens!

    As I continue to think about it, really, I think we all would be astounded to see the profit margins many of these outdoor "manufacturers" make. It's hard for me to call them manufacturers, since most of them don't "make" what some poorly paid Vietnamese child sews their label on. Probably costs more to unload the containers at Port of Long Beach or Port of Seattle with union labor than it does to buy the raw materials, assemble, crate, and ship! And while Sage assembles their high end rods in the US (do we know that?) Simms sure doesn't make their waders here. So, what you're paying $500 for more than likely cost Simms....? If they were worried about "the brand," they would worry about the quality. But why worry when it costs so little you can easily replace it.

    I think of my good friend, Dave Lewis, who would rail about guarantees for rods. I used to argue with him, saying I loved the Patagonia guarantee until it dawned on me that the guarantee cost them far far far less than it would to actually make a quality product. Make sense?
  11. I'm not sure what, if anything, to think about a Sage rod and Simms wader being sold at Costco. Both companies have engaged in what used to be called price fixing since day one, offering strict contracts to their retailers about selling only at MSRP. Since that is anything but free market economics, having these products sold in Costco should be a good thing. And as Kent mentions, how is it different than these products being sold by Cabela's the last few years? It doesn't really affect me much. Every Sage and Simms product I have, which is more than I realize at times, was purchased at a discount, closeout, or used for the very reason that I considered them over-priced at MSRP. In fact I just got two Simms fishing shirts in the mail yesterday at a reasonable half price. I think I look more than fashionable fishing in last year's styles with closeout rods and reels. That business plan is working OK for me.

  12. If I owned a fly shop I think I would care a little bit about this, but not enough to stop selling Simms and Sage. They should let their dealers sell the product for the same price as Costco to stay competitive. It might even be a good thing for small retailers, people who have never thought about taking it up could buy a rod- then they're going to need about 1000 other things to actually go out and use the rod- they can't get all that stuff at Costco.
  13. Yes, but I don't understand why people don't care that they still seem to be price fixing (not sure if that is the accurate term), and the only issue I have is that they still require shops to sell at MSRP, and not Costco. As a consumer I think it is great, but for the fly shops it isn't. That is my only problem. How can you or Kent say it is the same as selling at Cabelas, if even at Cabelas they are required to sell at MSRP, and Costco is not. That is how it is different.
    Honestly, I do think it is actually a good thing to have this stuff at Costco, as long as the fly shops can discount as well.
  14. Oh they will. A nice big fat check from Costco.
  15. wal marts next
  16. Lots of thoughts on this for me on this topic...probably won't share most of them.

    Question for those who bring up the point about "supporting your local fly shop". Would you buy a rod or pair of waders at your local shop, knowing that you can get the same thing for hundreds less at Costco?
  17. The answer is on the Blanton site. Jamie Lyle, the West Coast Sage rep responds with:


    I can only speak for Sage and tell you that there was a missing shipment of rods destined for an authorized reseller that has somehow ended up at Costco. It is a very limited quantity and they are definitely not an authorized dealer for Sage. I suspect it is the same for Simms.

  18. I spoke with representatives from both Simms and Sage today. Both assured me that this was a ‘grey market’ deal where an overseas distributor purchased product that was intended for other markets then intercepted the shipments, and routed them to Costco.

    SIMMS: Simms has authorized their Washington sales rep to purchase any and all remaining Simms products at full retail as they have no desire to be in Costco. This is probably already done.

    SAGE: While not as decisively as Simms, have also assured me that they are ‘selectively’ purchasing the remaining inventory and also have no desire to sell their product in Costco stores.

  19. I stopped by the Worley Bugger Fly Shop this afternoon as they carry both Sage and Simms. The Simms rep talked with Steve Worley and confirmed that Simms will be pulling out all the product from Costco shelves. There was a reasonable explanation for the mishap, similar to some of the ideas posted here. He had e-mailed and got a response from the Sage rep and it appears there was not going to be immediate action from Sage to pull their product.
  20. if you could prove that you have a costco sage would it be a collectors item?

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