Saturday, January 20, 2018

Eagle Optics closed

Recently a query for recommendations about binocular selection posted to a list serve I read caught my attention.  In this same query there was mention that Eagle Optics had closed.  Eagle Optics closed?

Turns out to be true.  This was a stunner.  To me Eagle Optics was always the premier birding optics resource with a retail store in Wisconsin (I had never been) and an excellent on-line presence.  Their telephone support was superlative.   If you go to the Eagle Optics website you will read the following:

"After over 30 years as a successful sport optics retailer, it became even more challenging to run a specialized business, and on 12/31/17, Eagle Optics is ceasing all business operations.

As always, Eagle Optics recognizes that without our customers and partners, we could not have been successful in our support of the birding community and bird conservation. We want to thank you and are eternally grateful for the relationships, partnerships, and community we have built together."

It says a lot about the support Eagle Optics provided over the period of time when birding exploded in popularity.  It says a lot that this kind of specialty business can no longer be successful in our current purchasing/retail/commercial landscape.

Just before this past Christmas, I spent a great afternoon with book-loving reading friends.  Their house is loaded with books.  It's so interesting and fun to stand in front of one of their bookshelves and scan over the titles.  My friends live in a university city with a great independent bookstore owned by a young couple.  The store is very successful and my friends mean to do their part to keep it that way. They no longer purchase from Amazon or other on-line sites.

In full disclosure, I do purchase books from Amazon, but my friends have got me thinking.  This afternoon, I'm off to the Barnes and Noble store 3 miles from my house to see if they are carrying a book I want to purchase.  Remember when "big box stores" were the threat?  I recently re-watched the 1998 romantic comedy "You've Got Mail"  and thought it was even better 20 years later.  If the "big box" Barnes and Noble near my house were to close, there would be no bookstore around for miles and miles - not a good thing in a country with illiteracy rising at an alarming rate.

If only the same had been so for birders support for Eagle Optics.  I'm grateful for the spotting scope and tripod purchase I made from Eagle Optics and will always think fondly of my experiences with their business.  They served us well.

So where do we go for binocular information now?  For now at least, there are still on-line binocular reviews of the Eagle Optics Ranger line. One  such review by Optics Reviewer also offered a short history of how Eagle Optics came to be.  Cornell Lab of Ornithology also offers occasional reviews as does Birders journal.

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