March Business of the Month – West Laramie Fly Store: Rich history and family fly tying
West Laramie Fly Store has history in Laramie dating back to the 1930’s, today it’s a local sportsman resource and gas station. The combination of a gas station that sells guns has garnered attention from tourists all over the world, and owner Brandon Specht’s involvement and commitment to the community is deserving of local attention, as well.
Specht said he’s had tourists stop in all the way from Germany to specifically visit the store.
“People who’ve been before and know someone driving through say ‘if you’re driving through, you gotta stop, you’ll never believe it, the gas station sells guns!’” said Specht. “If you’re the local Laramie type, everybody just knows that’s what we are, it’s nothing different, but for the average person who hears about it is like ‘wait, it’s what?’ it’s not just a gas station?’ it’s everything.”
West Laramie Fly Store has been able to build this international reputation over the multitude of years it’s been in business.
Specht explained the business started in the 1930s when a man and his wife were tying flies in their cabin and selling them.
“It’s gone through several iterations, the building has parts on it that are about that old,” said Specht. “My Grandfather bought it in ‘69, but we don’t know exactly when it became a gas station, as well.”
Specht started his ownership in 2006. And since, he has been sure to get involved with the community as a business and individually as sportsman and small business owner. West Laramie Fly Store is most often a sponsor of fundraising events, most often for Ark, University programs and High School programs.
Laramie Chamber Business Alliance Vice President of Membership Josie Molloy explained that Specht and West Laramie Fly Store get involved whenever they can.
“Brandon is always willing to help the community. He is very involved with many of the LCBA events including the Ag Appreciation Banquet and Hometown Holiday Hurrah,” said Molloy. “He is always willing to donate items to the Ag Appreciation Banquet auction and raffle.”
Molloy noted his generosity is greatly appreciated by the LCBA.
“I like to do what I can, when I can,” said Specht.
The store is also represented on several boards around Laramie.
“Whether that’s serving on the board for Ducks Unlimited or helping with Elk Foundation,” said Specht. “Obviously all the sportsmen’s events we’re fairly involved with. I serve on the hospital foundation board and help them with their sportsmen banquet.”
Beyond work for these non-profits and fundraisers, the store serves its day to day customers, whether they come in for fly fishing, sport fishing, hunting or typical gas station needs.
Day to day operation at the store is like any other retail business, said Specht.
“It’s fairly weather and time dependent with travel, we get the fishing rush then have snowmobilers in the winter, and we go from there.” said Specht. “We have our local clientele in the morning, the same guys that come in all the time for their free cup of coffee.”
He laughed noting he’s had the same regulars coming in for 15 years.
Right now, the store is wrapping up their snowmobiling season and gearing up for a fishing rush.
To find out more about West Laramie Fly Store, you can follow them on Facebook or visit their website at flystore.net.