Tony Robinson and Jan Ketley met while working at Alvey Reels and are now engaged.
Tony Robinson and Jan Ketley met while working at Alvey Reels and are now engaged.

Love found on factory floor of 100-year-old business

WHEN Tony Robinson heard the news that his long-term employer Alvey Reels was closing down, he admitted he was an "emotional wreck".

He has worked at the Carole Park factory for 40 years and the passionate fisherman said his passion for his work producing the iconic reels kept him coming back every day with a spring in his step.

He also found love on the factory floor in the form of fiance Jan Ketley.

She has worked for the business for 26 years.

Mr Robinson, who is in charge of assembly and works in quality control, said he had seen plenty of changes over the years.

"When I started here I wasn't quite 17," he said.

"I couldn't get on the machinery until I was 17. I worked my way through the place until I got to assembly.

"When I started here … there were 75 people in the factory and they were turning over 100,000 reels a year."

He recalls the reaction from the public to the announcement the business was shutting down.

"Things just went insane," he said.

"We took a massive amount of orders. It took us over 12 months to get on top of those orders.

"It was three years' worth (of orders) in two months.

"In the early days when Jack (Alvey) was still around he did a lot of work going overseas and drumming up business. The invasion of the spinning reels really changed things.

"I'm really looking forward to the future. The future is looking really good … taking us to the world."