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A longtime fly shop and fishing outfitter has a new downtown location to call home.

The River’s Edge fly shop opened its doors last week at its new location in the Nash Finch building at 612 E. Main St. The move to the east end of downtown comes after almost 40 years of business at the shop’s old location on North Seventh Avenue.

“We had been looking at new locations for some time in order to expand our business and in order to do justice to the bigger product lines that we carry,” said Steve Summerhill, who has co-owned the shop since 2004. “It’s a fresh new location with a different traffic pattern. We kind of like being on the east end of Main Street where we’re on the way to the Yellowstone (River).”

The new shop is higher-end than the old spot, Summerhill said, but will bring with it some of the traditions the store is known for. The size of the new location also allowed the shop to consolidate its storage warehouse and its retail operations into one location.

Summerhill said the new lease was signed at the Nash Finch building before the COVID-19 pandemic reached Montana, but that having to close the store for the stay-at-home order gave his team the time to get the store moved and up and running at the new spot.

“Having to be closed for a month or so sort of afforded us the opportunity to do it the right way,” Summerhill said. “We’ll probably have more of a grand opening event later this summer.”

The change in location is the newest update for the shop, but not the only one. Last year, Simms Fishing Products became a minority partner in The River’s Edge, and the new location is officially named Simms at The River’s Edge.

“The Simms brand, for us, has been the strongest brand of all of our fly-fishing brands and has been for many years,” Summerhill said. “We like the opportunity to work more with Simms on some of our marketing and some of our retail displays.”

COVID-19 has taken a swipe at nearly every industry, and outfitters and fishing guides aren’t exempt. Summerhill said that, while the company has guided fishing trips planned for mid- and late-summer, trips during April and May just weren’t happening.

But business in the new store, he said, has been steady.

“It seems like people are ready to get out and go fishing,” he said.

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651.

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