Sunday, January 30, 2011

Inside Dan's Tackle Service in Bucktown

(Following, in italics, is a mailbag letter from our Jan. 25th Pipeline. More on Dan's in the next pipeline, Feb. 1. .... Following are a few photos that I snapped during a 'pop in' yesterday. A young fisherman named Andy was chatting up Dan on wires and lures and such. Andy was planning to do some fishing on the shores of Indiana today, Sunday)

My name is Brett Mackie and I live in Bucktown. I really dig reading your blog about the community. To that end, I think I have an interesting story for you about an incredibly unique fishing shop with an even more interesting owner here in Bucktown, Dan's Tackle Service. It's somewhat of an underground fishing shop that has been around for the last 30 years directly across the street from Pulaski Elementary School (you'd never know its there however, there is no sign).

At any rate, my friend, who is a much more experienced fly fisherman than I, said the only place I could locate these egg patterns was in South Chicago 40 minutes away. I wasn't about to drive there at the last minute (we were leaving for our trip the next day) so I did a Google search on "Chicago fishing gear" and "Dans Tackle Service" popped up... 3 BLOCKS from my house and 1 BLOCK from my friends house in Bucktown.

Dan's website was pretty poor and hosted on a free godaddy site so we were skeptical it was legit or even still open. Being so close, we made the short walk over to Dan's and were even more skeptical when there was no sign or indication there was a fly shop inside this small 2 story home in a residential neighborhood. We walked in anyways and immediately knew we hit the jackpot. We walked up the stairs and landed in a fully outfitted fly shop - fly tying materials, line, waders, boots, rods, custom rod building, reels, you name it...We hung out with Dan that night for about an hour and learned that he would be closing his doors as soon as he could sell the house. He was in financial debt due to inventory purchases and a slowing economy and the crush of online retail.

So after hearing his story that night a friend and I set out to "SAVE DAN'S." Since then we've managed to keep him in business by building foot traffic and phone orders using Craigslist, email marketing to his contact list and reaching out to fishermen we know. He builds custom rods as well and has been shipping them all over the world for years. We're also working on a new Website for him and trying to get him to start using ebay. We're doing it all pro bono of course and Dan treats us to occasional free or discounted gear and hours of conversation on fly fishing and life in general. He's a whiskey drinker, as are we, so we've had the pleasure of sitting in his shop, tearing into some jazz and whiskey and hearing his story. His goal is to leave the house "Feet First"...and to that end we're trying to make sure it happens.

Thank you, Alisa, for your time and consideration. And thanks for The Pipeline!

-Brett Mackie

[ED. Note: This letter reminded me why we're still doing The Pipeline. Pat will be following up with Dan and Brett. Stay tuned!]

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