Community News Blue Ridge Fly Fishing bursts onto North Shore

Community News Blue Ridge Fly Fishing bursts onto North Shore

May 10th, 2017 by Shane Foley in Community North Hamilton

Chris Loizeaux stands in Trekka Outfitters on Dayton Blvd. when it opened in 2015. He's since expanded out from the tiny 450 sq. ft. location and into a new, much larger space on Manufacturer's Road.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

International Fly Fishing Film Festival

Thursday, May 18, just a few days after the grand opening of Blue Ridge Fly Fishing shop’s new location, the shop is hosting the International Fly Fishing Film Festival at The Camp House starting at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15, or $10 for students, and there is a $50 VIP option. Numerous outdoor films about fly fishing all over the world will be shown, highlighting adventures chasing fish. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the local YMCA for its wilderness education and summer meal program. For more information, contact Chris Loizeaux at chris@brff.fish or 803-2733.

Chris Loizeaux casts while fly fishing on the Hiwassee River. He said he's looking forward to being able to offer the Chattanooga fly fishing community more with his new shop.

Chris Loizeaux casts while fly fishing on the...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Chris Loizeaux's fly fishing shop Trekka Outfitters was growing fast, but it recently had a huge growth spurt. Following Trekka's merger with Blue Ridge Fly Fishing Company out of North Georgia, the shop swiftly outgrew its small, 450-square-foot location in Red Bank.

"We couldn't have more than five people in the shop without everyone breathing down each other's necks," Loizeaux said of the Dayton Boulevard location he moved into in 2015. "We had a 10-foot counter with five feet of product on it. It was a tight fit."

When presented with the opportunity to more than double in size following the merger, Loizeaux jumped at it.

Saturday, May 13, Loizeaux and his business partner, Blue Ridge founder Jeff Turner, are unveiling their new, 2,000-square-foot shop at 205 Manufacturers Road with a day of giveaways, deals and local food and drinks served in celebration.

Loizeaux said the extra space will enable him to host community events and school fishing clubs at his shop, something he wanted to do at his previous location but couldn't due to the limited size. He's coordinated with fly fishing clubs from UTC, McCallie and Lee University.

The goal, he said, is to become the largest fly fishing tour guide company east of the Mississippi River. The warehouse space he and Turner have at their new location will be the central location for their guide service.

To kick off the tours, the big giveaway at their grand opening will be an all-inclusive four-day, five-night guided fly fishing trip in Montana.

The shop will have a fleet of Jackson kayaks coming in soon as well, Loizeaux said, enabling them to also offer kayak and drift boat tours throughout the region.

Vendors and representatives from companies like Orvis, Simms and Redington will also be present at the opening, answering questions and helping with giveaways.

"We called in just about every favor we had with our vendors," Loizeaux said with a laugh.

He added that the new shop wouldn't have been possible this quickly without his partnership with Turner.

"I was getting to a point where growth was hard because of our size," Loizeaux said. "I started talking with Jeff late last summer, and our vision really lined up for how we wanted to treat our job."

That vision meant, before anything else, sharing the sport they love with the public and giving people good options within their budgets. The merger provided Loizeaux the funds and opportunity to move to a larger space years ahead of what he thought was possible.

"It was a huge help. Kind of like a double bounce on a trampoline," Loizeaux said.

For more information about Blue Ridge Fly Fishing or its grand opening, visit blueridgeflyfishing.com or call 803-2733.