How It All Began
When Tim Sommer and Ty Nelson started Florida Fishing Products from there college couches in April 2016, they had three goals in mind: develop high-quality fishing products that fit their needs for chasing inshore gamefish in Florida, provide customers with excellent customer service, and create a culture of conservation-minded anglers along the way. Over four years later, there have been a number of great fishing products that we've developed and thousands of anglers we've helped educate on conservation issues that Florida's fisheries face. While we have seen a lot of growth in the past four years, it hasn't come without its headaches.
FFP Has Created A Culture of Transparency
We've had quality control and funding issues; dealt with red tide that devastated our sales for months in 2018; we've seen employees come and go; and our team has had their fair share of personal hurdles to overcome along the way as well. All that said, we've been transparent over the years about many of the issues we've had to overcome and have always done our best to make things right when these issues affect the customers who so graciously support us. As we continue to grow, we want to continue to honor and live up to the original goals our founders set forth for FFP and we also wish to continue to be as transparent as possible with the anglers who choose to support FFP.
Where Florida Fishing Products Is Made
With that being said, we want to address the question of where Florida Fishing Products are made. When our founders started FFP, their goal was to develop products that suited their own needs for fishing for inshore gamefish in Florida. They fished Florida, were raised in Florida, and were proud to launch a company to help conserve and restore Florida's fisheries. However, it was never their intention to produce fishing products in Florida. Much like Columbia and Patagonia who produce much of their product lines overseas -- not in the regions their companies are named after -- we never intended to produce fishing products in Florida.
Instead, with an understanding of economic globalization, our founders sought to find manufacturer's around the globe that could help produce the fishing products they intended to design and develop for use in Florida's diverse fisheries. Florida is the "Fishing Capital of the World" after all, and there are so many unique gamefish that require equally unique fishing equipment to successfully catch them. The goal was to find manufacturers who could produce high-quality products that could hold up to the harsh conditions that anglers put their fishing equipment through in order to successfully catch Florida's most sought after gamefish.
Based in Tampa
After a brief stint in law school, our co-founder, Ty Nelson, moved next door to good friend and fellow co-founder, Tim Sommer, in Tampa Heights. Over the first few years of operation, they moved from downtown Tampa to across the street from Ulele Springs to their church's dilapidated youth ministry building and finally planted their roots in a warehouse space just west of Tampa International Airport.
It is here in Tampa, FL that all of our products are quality checked by anglers, where customers are cared for by fellow anglers, and where our sales and marketing efforts are driven by anglers. In order to better serve fishermen, Florida Fishing Products has made it a point to hire and work with passionate fishermen.
Made in China
After nearly a year of research and product testing, our founders chose to have their first product, the ORIGINAL Osprey Spinning Reel, manufactured in China. The reasoning was that they found they were 1) unable to find a manufacturer in North America (let alone just in the United States) and 2) that their Chinese manufacturer had decades of experience in producing high-quality fishing reels and were interested in innovating with a couple of young entrepreneurs like Tim and Ty.
Countries We Work With Today
Today, FFP works with or indirectly through companies in Florida, New York, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Italy, and China to produce the products that we currently offer. As we continue to grow and learn, we will continue to scour the globe for new technologies and emerging manufacturers to produce more advanced and higher-quality fishing products to suit our anglers' needs for chasing gamefish.