Bass Pro Shop now owns Cabela, but then you knew that and probably already forgot it. Both of these big box stores are wonderful examples of how innovation and hard work can turn a sporting goods store in to a Chucky Cheese fun time experience. I suppose that because fly fishing never fit the marketing template of either, neither were really much of a threat to so-called local fly shops.
Since A River Runs Through ignited interest in fly fishing several years ago, scores of fly shops have opened in the South. About half have come and gone, but a good many have prospered because they learned the secret to specialty retailing. For fly fishermen that means having in stock what they want when they want it and providing genuinely friendly, personal service. For shop owners that means you work you rear off 24/7. Keeping a fly shop well stocked requires an abundance of hard work.
The biggest threat to fly shops is not the big box stores. Many shop owners tell of customers who come in and play with rods or reels. Then the customers go home and order the same things online so they can save a little money.
It is safe to say that every single fly shop in the South is a big supporter of FFF, TU and PHW fund raising events. They support the sport far more that an Internet seller does. Everyone likes a great deal and saving a few bucks, but failure to patronize your local fly shop is akin to cutting your nose off to spite of your face.