Iconic Alvey Reels look to US waters in 100th year

IT was just over two years ago when iconic Ipswich brand Alvey Reels announced it had to shut up shop after 98 years in business.

Upon hearing the news, passionate anglers bombarded them with orders to the tune of about $1 million worth of fishing reels, which allowed them to carry on.

As they enter their 100th year of operation this week, the future is looking bright.

The business was started by Charles Alvey and his great-grandsons Bruce and Glenn are excited as they look to expand into new waters.

Businessman Con Athans stepped in after the business almost shut down and the majority shareholder is in America trying to drum up interest for the brand over there.

Alvey has launched new products, introduced customisation for its reels and is looking to expand into more markets in Australia outside northern New South Wales and southeast Queensland.

They are selling a new range of spinning reels manufactured in China.

"We've been (in America) in a small way in the past," Bruce said.

"But we've found some new people who are very keen to take it to a new level.

"They don't do a lot of beach fishing over there. The market is only about 30 per cent salt water and 70 per cent freshwater. Australia is the reverse.

"If Con comes back with some decent orders from America, we'll probably have to put more people on which is what it's all about. We've got to grow it back up now to where it was."

With a reputation for producing reels that never break, many customers use them for decades and some even pass them on to the next generation.

Glenn said their approach had to change.

"It's a new way of coming to market and expanding our markets," he said.

"The US is the type of shoreline that is so similar to ours. They're not using our product but we feel they could be using our product.

"We've just got to expand our range and our market. We've sat down and figured out how to do it now we've just got to implement it."

The brothers have been involved in the business for as long as they can remember.

Their grandmother's house was next door to their former factory in Brisbane before they moved to Carole Park in 1978 following the floods.

They employ a core staff of 10 people.

"We've all known the business all of our lives whether you liked it or not you were involved," Bruce said.

"We've certainly been through some ups and downs on the way but we're still here.

"The future is looking pretty promising. It's a privilege and an honour to still be here."