I've always been a strong proponent of buying locally and buying made in America products, well, with the exception of cars, but that's another story. Also, as I've gotten older, I've realized that you really do get what you pay for.
This past week, I have had 2 superior experiences with repair issues from Simms and Hatch.
Christmas 2011 found a pair of Simms Rivertek Boa wading boots under the tree. I could not have been happier as I really love this pair of boots. I wore them often throughout 2012 and the provided the comfort and ease of use that I wanted in new boots. By know means did I wear them an excessive amount but it was often. I went to pull them on this past December, for a little cold weather fishing, and was disappointed to see the stitching had come apart.
I contacted Simms customer service department and explained the problem. The gentleman was very helpful and stated that there was an issue with the stitching in the boots early on in production. He suggested I return the boots for first hand evaluation and he would see what could be done. I sent the boots off and, within days, heard back that Simms would be replacing the boots with a new pair as this was a manufacturing issue. Kudos to Simms for making the entire process seamless, no pun intended. In my mind, service like this justifies the price of the boots. I have now dealt with Simms on wader and boot issues and have been thoroughly pleased with the outcome each time.
Happily, I can report a similar outcome with the repair of a Hatch reel. I purchased a 4 Plus reel early last year and was truly impressed with the overall quality and feel of this reel. One afternoon, after a trip to the river, I was cleaning some gear and making room in the trunk and I dropped the reel my asphalt driveway. Yep, it did not end well for the reel. The frame was bent and the spool would not spin smoothly. I knew I was in for it this time...clearly my bad.
For a couple months, I buried the damaged reel in my office and moved it from spot to spot around my desk, perhaps thinking that wishful thinking might magically repair the reel. Well, the angling fairy never materialized so I contacted Hatch in early December. I dealt with Andrew Dickinson and he suggested I return the reel for evaluation. A couple weeks passed and Andrew phoned with his findings...now, bear in mind that I told Andrew exactly how the reel was damaged - this was clearly my doings.
Not only did Andrew repair the reel, he upgraded to internal drag mechanism and even repainted the paint / enamel on the reel. He clearly went above and beyond the call. Now the kicker...he did not charge me anything for this service. To say the least, I was blown away by his service and attention to detail. Again, service like Andrew's justifies the price of the reels and provides a measure of comfort for the user.
Now, if I could just find the time to get out and use the great products I would be a happy man!