Sitting on their college couches, Ty Nelson & Tim Sommer decided to start a fishing business that gave back to conservation efforts.
The estuaries they fished were in dire need of help, and the big brands they once supported were doing nothing about it.
Looking to make maximum impact, Ty & Tim decided to try their hand at developing spinning reels for inshore saltwater fishermen.
Most anglers start fishing with spinning reels and at the time there were no small local spinning reel companies to speak of.
The Original Osprey
After surverying a number of their friends and other notable saltwater anglers, they came to the conclusion that fishermen were ready for a change.
They wanted reels that were light-weight, smooth, and could hold up to saltwater for under $200. And so the Osprey Spinning Reel was born.
At first we started with a few pre orders, and then a few dozen pre orders, and then a few hundred pre orders.
The growth was consistent and eventually Ty & Tim were unable to handle all of the work themselves.
Our First Employee
As demand grew, the guys decided to look for an intern to help with the increase in orders.
Robby Lacey came aboard from the University of Tampa to quality check reels and fulfill online shipments.
Working with Guides
After being turned down by a number of retail shops, Ty & Tim turned to fishing guides to help spread the word and offer feedback to make their reels better.
The guides' clients were generally tough on gear and really put our products to the test. From this feedback, we had many iterations of the original Osprey.
This eventually led to the development of the Osprey CE & Osprey SS.
Initially, we planned to give 3% of sales back to conservation. But cash flow woes made that extremely challenging.
Instead we opted to get our hands dirty and started hosting quarterly clean ups around the community.
Eventually this led to our Fish Better initiative where we set out to create a culture of conservation minded anglers.
After a couple of years, anglers began asking for larger reels, fishing line, and leader material.
So we expanded our product line while improving upon our orginal Osprey reel. This expansion required more space!
To keep up with all of the inventory, Tim & Ty renovated a dilapidated building that their church inherited.
This building became the new FFP super secret headquarters, which gave us a foundation to grow.
The new product line up and increased growth led to Ty & Tim hiring Cael Wilson on as a full time Guide & Sales Director.
Soon they opened up a marketing internship program and added Ryan McManigal and then Max Rieumont.
They eventually hired Kenny Garand to manage reel service and quality control.
Out of Space
After two more years of growth at the new HQ, FFP was bursting at the seams!
We decided to make another move into our first reel warehouse space. Pun intended.
In 2020, Tim made a career move to take over his father's business: Cape Candle. There is speculation of a Cape Candle/FFP shared HQ in the future...
In order to help try to fulfill Tim's role, Ty brought on Kyle Groh as the FFP Office Manager. Kyle has been instrumental in caring for our FFP anglers.
After rapid growth in 2020 & 2021, FFP has officially slowed growth in 2022 for the first time since inception.
This has led to a period of reflection, appreciation, and internal growth. Next steps have been established.
To the Future
After two years of product development disruption due to supply chain issues, we're excited to return to developing new products. Stay tuned as we begin launching new products in Jan 2023.