Garage-grown and family owned. That’s the first thing you’ll learn about one of the newest additions to Telluride’s entrepreneurial landscape — Dead Drift Fly Fishing.
Started in 2014 by brothers Grant and Drew Doorn in Laramie, Wyoming, the sibling entrepreneurs were inspired by the call of the West. They moved their shop from their garage to the old Placerville liquor store in 2017, eager to establish roots in a locale with an attitude similar to theirs — active, creative, innovative and environmentally conscious.
“We wake up every day in one of the most beautiful spots in the country with any type of outdoor activities at our finger tips. It makes work that much better when you know you can go play right out our front door,” Grant said.
With the goal of creating eco-conscious products that represent the sport of fly fishing and the region they now call home, it’s easy to see why Telluride’s community embraced the Doorn brothers. A growing industry in Colorado as major brands establish operations along the Western Slope, including Scott Fly Rods and Ross Reels, fly fishing is expanding in popularity throughout the region.
“Kinda cliché, but your first fish on a fly rod is always memorable. I can remember the fly and the exact spot almost 20 years later,” Drew said about one of his first fly fishing memories.
After graduating from Montana State University in 2009 with a degree in environmental design, Drew made a change and launched a career in graphic design, ultimately working for Under Armour. While successful in that field, Drew was missing something. Similarly, Grant found himself wanting to escape the corporate track while working for Southwest Airlines. The two decided to follow the call of the wild and get back to the mountains.
Ready for their new adventure, the two cofounded Dead Drift in their garage. While Drew takes care of more unique, enticing designs, Grant handles the business side of the company in regards to finance, book-keeping, marketing and web design. Though an entrepreneurial spirit runs in the family, Grant and Drew note that it’s rare for folks to be truly prepared to start their own business. Luckily, they were able to look to their parents, who now live in Ridgway and have owned several businesses over the years. You’ll often find their mother and father in the shop screen-printing, packing orders or taking care of the dogs.
“Dead Drift Fly was created with the intent to design a fly fishing apparel company which would represent fly fishing in the West as we see it,” according the company’s mission statement.
And in this, the Doorn brothers do not disappoint. Screen printing and sewing all of their shirts and hats in-house, the two strive to design products that represent the areas, similar to Telluride, where fly fishing is a way of life rather than just another sport. Stepping into the shop they renovated on their own, it’s easy to see that their passion for the West has created a way of life complimented by a successful business. Reclaimed wood and contemporary detail coordinate with the inspiring natural elements of their business.
When they’re not at the shop working, the Doorn brothers can be found out on the mountain, on the ice at the hockey rink, or hiking with their dogs Dutch and Hatchet.
Dead Drift Fly’s shop at 230 Front St. in Placerville next to the M&M Mercantile is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., unless it snows or the fishing’s exceptionally good. Their booth will be at the Friday Farmers Markets in the summer, as well as Mountainfilm’s ice cream social and other major outdoor events throughout Colorado year-round. All of their products can also be found online at deaddriftfly.com.