“I lead our team of 204 people to complete production and delivery – on time – of the Best Rods on Earth,” says Rodriguez. “Each team member at St. Croix South is keenly aware of the history, mission, and prestige of the brand and takes great pride in crafting these rods for anglers. All of our equipment, materials, and processes are identical to those in Park Falls, but the building here is newer. That’s about the only difference,” Rodriguez adds. “It’s a very nice work environment and our team members love coming to work here.”
St. Croix’s state-of-the-art Fresnillo manufacturing facility allows the company to build rods that appeal to a wider range of anglers. Ultimately, it’s anglers who win when operational costs are lowered and materials, workmanship and manufacturing processes remain at the same high standard. St. Croix South-built series like Triumph Freshwater and Saltwater, Mojo Freshwater and Saltwater, Bass-X, and Eyecon speak for themselves, all of which enjoy extreme popularity with anglers worldwide.
COVID-19 placed stresses on all forms of manufacturing in the past year. “Manufacturing is always a challenging and complex process, and last year’s shutdowns didn’t make things any easier,” says Brunner. But he points out that almost any dark cloud can have a silver lining. “We were shut down for almost 6 weeks. We took ten steps back to look at how we operate. Like a lot of individuals did, we reset. We figured out what we could do better with respect to staffing, managing and shipping orders and managing flow… things that are almost impossible to do while you are running. We took advantage of the opportunity to make small changes that have had big impacts. We look at things differently now.”
Rodriguez agrees. “We are producing more rods in both facilities now than we ever have before, without sacrifice to our quality,” he says. “Any great company is constantly evolving… looking for ways to make improvements. But just because something works well – whether that’s a fishing rod or a manufacturing process – doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. COVID-19 gave us the opportunity to make many improvements for the benefit of our anglers.”