Hi Capt. Bob, I quite agree with you on every point. As I said to the O.P. earlier in this thread, it would be a poor decision to go into business tying flies for a living. As for the case of opening a fly shop, that would have to be on a case by case basis. The location, ties to the industry, your resources (ie, financially, your connections etc.) would all have to be considered.
The local fly shop (fly shop, is a misnomer it had to be a fly fishing shop) owner up here, a local legend really, deceased now, told me once that the money was not in the merchandise, it was in the fishing trip promotion and brokering. If he didn't arrange trips he wouldn't have made it. By arranging the trips, he also got to outfit the fisherman. I'm talking exotic destination trips for locals to exotic (to us) places like Florida for tarpon. Fly fishing for him was not a business opportunity it was his passion, his reason for living and the only thing he could do. After he died (he was here over thirty years), the fly shop went away and no one else even attempted one, it would have been foolish.
For me, the passion is custom knife making. Nobody should attempt to make a living making custom knives, it's silly, it's foolish. But, I have spent my life doing things that everyone else said I couldn't, shouldn't or wouldn't do. I have made mistakes, and sacrifices but I am the happiest person I know, and have been the luckiest person I know.
Anyone with the passion to have a fly shop, or tie flies for a living will not listen to any of us telling him not to. He would do some research, do the math, find out it's going to be really hard and then do what ever it takes to make it happen. They will have to work hard every day for very long hours at first.
When I started my shop, the world didn't need a custom knife shop in Fairbanks but it did need a tool sharpening shop, I worked 12 hours a day in the shop everyday. Then worked a few more hours a day, every day, on the shop, fixing the roof, repairing equipment, making fixtures etc. I worked even on Christmas day for five years when I was getting started. It affected my health. I quit hunting, fishing and trapping for the first seven or eight years I was in business. When I got most of my machinery paid for I was able to start doing those things again. We still have struggles, things change, you have to adapt. Find out what's wrong and find a way to fix it. Business is like that.
Living a dream isn't easy, that's why they call it a dream. There's no security in living a dream, if you want security (not you Bob, you're living your dream) don't chase a dream.
Check with me in five years, we'll see if my story has changed.