Simms acquires key fly tackle retailer

US-based wader, outerwear, footwear and technical apparel manufacturer Simms Fishing Products, has purchased long-time Montana specialty retailer, Simms at The River’s Edge Fly Shop.

Established in 1983, The River’s Edge has been the headquarters for Montana fly fishing since its inception. With two locations in Bozeman, often described as the trout fishing capital of the United States, The River’s Edge offers a full-service experience – from guided Montana fly fishing trips, to fly tying and casting instruction, to expert product and fishing advice.

The transaction doesn’t change the primary focus of The River’s Edge – to provide customers with the best retail experience possible, which includes carrying a full range of categories, from woolly buggers and waders to fly rods and rainwear. The recent change in ownership will give Simms better insight on the retail landscape, allow Simms to explore new and innovative merchandising strategies, and receive direct product feedback from its consumers to better serve a vast wholesale and retail network.

“Fly shops are so much more than just a place to purchase gear. They are sources of information and intel. They are the catalysts that build unique communities. They are not only the heart and soul of our business, but they are also the heart and soul of our industry,” explained Simms CEO, Casey Sheahan.

“This transaction is the next logical step for Simms to get closer to, and better understand, the wants and needs of all anglers. We couldn’t be more honoured to carry the torch and continue the legacy The River’s Edge has built right here in Bozeman.”

The ownership conversation between Simms and The River’s Edge has been an ongoing dialogue. In October of 2019, Simms announced an initial investment in its long-time specialty retail partner.

With the rapid rise of interest in fishing the industry has seen over the course of the past two years, the time was right for Simms and The River’s Edge to take the next step and finalise a plan that has been in place with those initial conversations.

“Since the first day we opened our doors, Simms has been a critical partner in our success,” said Dan Lohmiller, former co-owner of The River’s Edge.

“In addition to consistently designing and developing the best fishing gear and apparel, Simms has also served as an invaluable consultant. Their approach, expertise, and commitment to providing anglers with the best experience possible has greatly contributed to the longevity, growth, and reputation our business has achieved.”

As the industry continues to change and evolve, so too have the collective strategies and business practices of both brands, all to enhance the customer experience.

“Partners like The River’s Edge have been a significant component to Simms success over the last 40 years,” concluded Simms Chief Revenue Officer Mike Moore.

“We are so lucky to have over 500 valued specialty partners across the country.  Our goal is to learn more about enhancing the consumer experience through our unique partnership with Simms at The River’s Edge and bring those findings to specialty fly and conventional retailers across the country. To do so with great, fishy friends like Dan, Daniel and Steve is a real treat. Their experience as guides, outfitters and retailers will benefit Simms and Simms retailers across the globe.”