On beautiful summer day a little over a year ago, I drove by a sign on a long brick building in Fillmore, NY that caused me to immediately turn around. No, it wasn't a sign for cold beer, although that might have worked too! The sign was for a small tackle shop at one end of the building.
I had some time before I had to arrive at hunting camp to relocate tree stands, so I decided to turn around and drop in on the shop. The first face I saw belonged to Stephen Sentz, co-owner of Cuba Specialty Manufacturing Company, doing business under the Tackle Factory brand.
As Stephen showed me around the shop and the products they manufactured there, I recognized many of them. If you've been fishing for a while, I'm sure you'd recognize many of their products as well, including the Rod Caddy, LineMinder, and their best known product, the GEE's® Minnow Trap. My visit was made into a video and posted to NYOutdoorTalk.com.
This fall, I stopped in again and caught up with Stephen. That's when he told me that he was retiring in January! It turns out that after over 40 years making tackle, he's soon jumping into a Volkswagen Bus and driving to Alaska with his girlfriend, before driving to Florida for good. The two of them are looking forward to riding their Harleys more often than they could in NYS.
Shelly Popovice, co-owner and long time friend, will take over the
entire business along with her husband, Greg. "Steve has been a very important
part of Tackle Factory for many, many years and we are truly going to
miss him," she said.
"We all wish him luck in his future endeavors and know he will make the most and best of his retirement. Thank you Steve for all your years of hard work, fun and friendship. And I have 2 parting words for you... 'Opt For Happiness!!!' (inside joke, LOL)."
So, if you soon see a Volkswagen Bus headed to Alaska, it just may be Steven. His days of making minnow traps, fixing machines, R&D, and "maintaining the best lawn in Fillmore" will soon be behind him. Let's all wish him well!