COLUMBIA -- Lured by the Midlands' lakes and rivers, and the short distance to the Atlantic Ocean's saltwater bounty, one of the country's largest fishing tackle companies is moving its headquarters to Columbia from Iowa.
Pure Fishing, which owns 12 brands of fishing tackle, including Shakespeare, is searching for office space for about 150 salaried professionals, said Terry Carlson, Pure Fishing's chief executive officer.
Some executives already are working in Columbia at the former Shakespeare manufacturing plant off Two Notch Road. The company hopes to have its Columbia headquarters in full swing by 2009, Carlson said.
Pure Fishing comes to Columbia with hopes of dominating the world's sport-fishing market.
"Our whole company is built around helping people catch more fish," Carlson said.
Columbia proves attractive
Pure Fishing chose Columbia after studying several locations in the United States, he said. The city is an appealing place to visit, and its quality of life was attractive to the company's employees.
Not to mention, a fishing tackle company needs to be in the heart of sport-fishing country. The company wants to be around fishermen so it knows where trends are headed and what customers want out of tackle, Carlson said.
Pure Fishing's motto is "Live to fish," and S.C. residents certainly do.
The city puts the company in an area full of picturesque lakes for bass fishing and within a few hours' drive of the ocean for the saltwater market. The company plans to bring buyers for retailers to Columbia and then host fishing trips to show off its products, Carlson said.
A 2006 U.S. Fish and Wildlife survey found 810,000 anglers lived in South Carolina, and they spent $1.4 billion a year on their hobby. In Richland County alone, 10,397 residents bought some type of fishing license in 2007, and 17,897 Lexington County residents purchased a license to fish.
In February, Greenville hosted the 2008 Bassmaster Classic, a national fishing tournament, and the state routinely hosts other fishing tournaments, including events at the Midlands' Lake Murray.
Pure Fishing employs 1,500 worldwide; about 900 work in the United States. It will move some people from its current headquarters in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and recruit some new employees here, Carlson said.
More on Jarden Corp.
What is it: The parent company of Pure Fishing
Headquarters: Rye, N.Y.
Chief executive officer: Martin Franklin
2007 revenue: $4.7 billion, up 21 percent from 2006
2007 net income: $28.1 million, down 74 percent from 2006
Stock: Friday's close, $17.29; 52-week range, $16.88-$42.74