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PARK FALLS (WAOW) -
Fishing is a time-honored tradition here in the Badger state. The Northwoods are especially known for beautiful bodies of water.
A Park Falls company has made quite a name for itself, helping anglers of all ages wet a line. For decades they've been heading north to get their hands on a popular brand of fishing rod.
St. Croix was founded in 1948. Back then the business was located in Minnesota.
"In 1954 the company moved to Park Falls, Wisconsin. We've been here ever since," said company president Paul Schluter.
Employees say St. Croix's popularity continues to grow.
"We introduced Legend Tournament six or seven years ago," said Schluter. "It was considered kind of radical at the time because it was so bright."
Schluter runs the business with his brothers and sister.
"What makes St. Croix Rods the best rods on earth is all the experience that comes from evolving the product line over these years," he said.
Employees make about 300,000 rods each year.
Erin Roberts has worked at St. Croix for 13 years. She took Newsline 9 through the assembly process from drilling the cork handle to laser-lining the blank. Employees pay close attention to every detail down to the intricate thread lining on each guide.
Schluter says the rods made here are shipped all over the world. And whether you're fishing for musky or trout, there's something for everyone.
"From $70 for our triumph series to well over $400 for our legend extreme series," said Schluter.
And here at St. Croix, you have a lot of options—800 to be exact.
"We're introducing 100 to 150 new models every year, expanding our product line," said Schluter.
There are rods for freshwater and saltwater fishing, and even ice fishing. They're all assembled at the Park Falls facility.
Schluter says it takes about six weeks to go from pieces to the finished product.
"The quality of craftsmanship is the same for all of the models that we produce," said Schluter. He says that commitment has helped the company win over anglers of all kinds.
"They can depend on the product to perform as promised and last as they expect it to," he said. "All of us have worked very hard at building the reputation that we have."
Schluter says he's proud St. Croix is located here.
"We feel we've done a lot to put Park Falls on the map," he said.
And they've got big plans for the future. St. Croix's president says the company is already coming up with new products for 2015. He says they hope to expand soon and hire more employees to help meet demand for their fishing rods.
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