Philipsburg outfitter rebounding from COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 4:37 PM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 12:57:34-04

PHILIPSBURG — Temperatures expected to hit the mid-70s later this week and that means thoughts of summertime activities will start creeping in.

A Philipsburg outfitter says they're already lining up guide trips and are excited to see things getting back to pre-COVID times.

Business is picking up quickly at Flint Creek Outdoors in Philipsburg as warming temperatures are bringing thoughts of lazy summer days spent fly-fishing on the rivers and lakes of western Montana.

“The location is perfect, we’re 2½ hours away from every major trout stream you’d want to fish if you were coming to Montana to go on a fly-fishing vacation,” Flint Creek Outdoors manager Josh McKown noted. “We take them over to Rock Creek, Georgetown Lake, Upper Clark Fork, Upper Blackfoot. We cover some ground,” he added.

The store’s location certainly doesn’t hurt either. “We’ve got a great brewery, the Sweet Palace, all of these places are unique, it’s not like you can go many places and experience all of these things,” McKown said.

Unlike some of the shops in Philipsburg that are seasonal, Flint Creek Outdoors is open year-round. In addition to guided trips, the store sells outdoor apparel, fishing gear, and even has a coffee shop. In fact, it was that coffee that allowed the store to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020, and for nearly two months that was their main source of income.

“We were still considered essential, so I just did walk-up service at the door, kind of manned the shop, and if anybody needed anything we were able to help them out, but we definitely experienced significant losses,” McKown told MTN News.

In what might be an interesting twist of fate, Mckown believes the pandemic will likely be a positive for Flint Creek Outdoors moving forward as it’s opened the eyes of new clientele.

“We kind of rebounded in the summer. What I saw was a lot of people getting outside, enjoying their time outside or discovering things that maybe they hadn’t had time to do before,” McKown said. “A lot of people got into the fly-fishing sport, and I think we’re going to see those people coming back because I don’t know how you can’t love it."

To that end, Mckown says his phone his been blowing up the last few weeks as those experienced fly-fisherman from around the country and globe come back for their first guided tour since the pandemic began, while those who experienced one for the first time last summer, come back for more.

Mckown says he expects to be booked solid for the summer and fall. Click here to visit the Flint Creek Outdoors website for more information.

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