Ties to the community

Posted on May 18th in Feature Story

Larry and Cindy Williams open new business in Hines

Larry and Cindy Williams in their fly shop in Hines. (Photo by TAMMY DOWNS)

By Tammy Downs
Burns Times-Herald

The owner of Steens Mountain Outdoors is no newcomer to fly fishing or Harney County. Larry Williams was born and raised  in Harney County and has been an avid fly fisherman since he was 12 years old.

Williams, along with his wife, Cindy, opened the doors for business on April 2. He had found himself unemployed after Monaco closed its doors and had been searching for work. He knew he did not want to leave Harney County and have to move somewhere else.

Williams and his wife said they are a strong Christian family and had been praying for the right job to open; and then an unexpected door opened when they were able to purchase the building where their business is now located. So began their adventure into opening up the new fly shop.

Williams is also a taxidermist and the back of the store will be for his taxidermy shop. He opened up the taxidermy part last October. He has been a contractor with Artistic Taxidermy out of Portland since 1982. He does a wide variety of animals, fish and birds.

Steens Mountain Outdoors is well on its way to becoming Southeast Oregon’s only destination flyshop. Their goal is to cater to customers who are coming here to fish so they will carry flies that work in this area.

They carry an assortment of flies; some are hand tied by a couple of local guys and they also carry flies that are purchased from various vendors. Williams said he purchases flies that the locals don’t know how to tie or don’t have the recipe for. He is overwhelmed by how many flies they are selling.

They carry products from a lot of very popular fly fishing supply companies such as Umpqua, Hareline, Tiemco, Metz and Mustad.

One of the main companies that they carry products from is Loon. They are an Oregon company based out of Ashland. They specialize in products that are biodegradable and are safe for the environment.

Also in the store are various fly rods and Williams also custom builds fly rods.

They will also be offering fly tying classes throughout the year. The first class will begin on May 17, and will run for  four weeks. This first class will be for beginners. The cost for the class will be $65. A potential student can either bring their own equipment, or Steens Mountain Outdoors will  have a package to buy at a discounted price. They will provide all of the supplies.

Williams hopes to have three classes a year. In the early spring it will be a beginners class, later in the spring an intermediate class and fall will be an advanced class.

Willams really has a heart for the youth and he has been asked by the Harney County Chamber of Commerce to see if he could work with some of the Oregon Youth Authority kids and teach them about fly fishing. He is also working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to see if there is something he can put together for the youth at the gravel ponds.

Williams’ wife, Cindy, knew what it was like to go to an outdoor store with her husband and opt to sit in the car because there wasn’t anything of interest for her.

So, a necessity in their new store was a corner for her to carry different things that would be of interest to wives, so they wouldn’t be out in the car bored.

She wants to carry unique items that can’t be found anywhere else, in any local store. Right now she is carrying different bird feeders and even has feeders for squirrels. They are a metalspiral feeder and the wires spring apart so the squirrel can pull out a peanut.

She also carries various knick knacks, maps, binoculars and an assortment of bird seed.

Updated fishing reports are available on a board by the front doors.

The Williams’ main goal is to be able to expand their business and to be able to support a few employees and to fill the community’s needs so people don’t have to travel out of town to shop. Special order requests will gladly be accepted if a product is not in stock.

The store is open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Williams are in the middle of getting a website set up, and they can be contacted at: Steensmountainoutdoors @centurylink.net

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