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Just a Handshake

Posted on February 27 2020

Just a Handshake - Rangeley Region Sports Shop


     Try to picture it:  A man works a demanding job in New York.  Work is exhausting.  The city is crowded.  For relaxation he fishes on vacation.  For several years, he and his wife travel to Rangeley on their time off.  They enjoy the natural beauty, the small town feel, and the fly fishing.  They have met George Fletcher since his fly shop is the place for equipment and advice.  One day, Gerry, the man from New York, sees George out on the river.  Gerry, wishing his vacation wouldn’t have to end, offers to buy the fly shop.  George agrees. They shake hands, and the sport shop has a new owner.

     In Gertrude O’Brien’s words, as quoted in a 2010 article by Deirdre Fleming:

“Gerry wanted to quit the rat race.  He was standing in a river and asked George Fletcher if he was willing to sell his fly shop and George shook his hand and said, ‘You just bought yourself a fly shop.’ That’s all it took is a handshake in the middle of the river.”

        By the way. our purchase of the shop was similar: Brett was fishing with friends and mentioned the fly shop being for sale.  One friend offered, “I can finance that for you”.  Shortly afterward Sue received a brief email at work: “We just bought a fly shop. Love, Hub". 

Photo of art print used courtesy of David B. Tibbetts, "Thomas Logan" from book Tight Lines, Enfield, NH: Grey Ghost Publishing, 2004. Page 20.  Many thanks, Dave!


  • Melanie Haggan: March 03, 2020

    I had never heard that story, Thanks for Sharing ! To bad everything couldn’t be that simple and honest. Have a great day !

  • Peter cutrone: March 03, 2020

    Great story,I remember when a hand shake meant something,now I just wonder

  • Thomas Goodspeed: March 03, 2020

    Wow so great of you to share the history of the shop and the region!

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