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Event Article


How G.Loomis Rods are Made – A Behind the Scenes Look at the Factory’s Secret Sauce (continued)

 

Once this drying cycle is complete a quality control technician brings each and every rod to the inspection station where the rods undergoes additional testing to ensure that not only are they cosmetically correct but they exhibit the right intended action. Once the rods are cleared by QC they are finally put into inventory. G.Loomis Inventory is now kept both here in Washington and in Southern California at the Shimano distribution facility.

 


Once the rods pass Q/C they are placed into inventory

 

The G.Loomis factory is also home to the company’s R&D center. Here a team of engineers work with designers including Steve Rajeff and Product Managers like Justin Poe to come up with new rods designs and processes to continually step up quality. Here we saw machinery designed to test and measure rods as well as prototype machines, that were not yet in use, that are designed revolutionize the company’s painting and finishing process.

 


Inventory is kept of all rod tubes and socks in this facility as well

 

Also housed in the facility is the warranty support team which comprises of the very service representatives that anglers talk to when they have a rod that needs to be replaced. G.Loomis’s popular Xpeditor program allows anglers to replace a broken rod expediently and without question. For a 100 dollar charge rods are replaced in advance and once anglers receive the rod they just need to put their broken rod into the same tube and affix the enclosed pre-paid shipping label on the outside of the tube. This team processes all these requests and inspects all incoming broken rods. To ensure the highest level of quality these rods are not repaired and are instead destroyed.

 


At the back of the production floor is the warranty replacement rod check area

 

Bruce showed me one final section of the factory floor, an area he called his “favorite.” It was a wall filled with pictures of customers proudly holding up fish and their Loomis rods. These are pictures that customers have sent into Loomis on their own over the years, and consist of snapshots with fish they have caught or good times they have had while armed with a Loomis rod. I scanned the wall and pointed at one particular picture which looked like a pile of rods which were absolutely destroyed. Handwritten on the picture was a short statement “my dog likes Loomis too.”  It turns out that this was a picture of G.Loomis rods that a customer had sent in after his dog got a little anxious from being locked up in the house and decided to make this rod collection into some very expensive chew toys. While the G.Loomis warranty doesn't cover anomalies like "dog destruction" Bruce told me another story of a fly fisherman who was surprised by a swimming rattlesnake while wading down in Texas and used his prized 9' #5 IMX rod to beat off the approaching snake. Fishing sure can be exciting, and Gary Loomis thought that story was interesting and ultimately decided to replace the angler’s fly rod.

 


Bruce's favorite part of the factory is a wall covered with pictures of customers that have enjoyed fishing with the company's products

 

Conclusion: As we neared the end of the tour I glanced up and took a picture of a large banner that was hung on top of the shop floor, it read “It is the goal of G.Loomis to deliver defect-free products and services to our customers on time, every time.” There is no doubt that the employees at the factory take pride in their work and I personally noticed how many smiles there were on faces of the employees on the production floor, especially when we took the time to examine exactly what they were working on at their individual stations.

 


A large banner hangs over the factory floor

 

It speaks volumes for the G.Loomis brand and Shimano that these rods are true to their tradition and each and every G.Loomis rod is built in Woodland, right where the company started. These rods are not the product of an automated process where graphite prepreg goes in one end and a rod is spit out on the other, if anything I was surprised just how manual a process building each and every rod was. G.Loomis has a reputation for premium offerings, and while their rods certainly are not the most affordable, they are among the best when it comes to quality. Anglers that fish G.Loomis rods are typically very passionate about the sport and it was refreshing to see that the people at G.Loomis that construct these rods are equally as passionate about building these tools. These rods truly are “handmade” and the craftsmanship that goes into building a rod is just as much an art as it is a science. While Shimano/G.Loomis has invested a great deal in machinery to improve the quality and refinement of their production the DNA in each of these rods is still the sweat equity of the company’s skilled employees… and that’s the real secret sauce.  

 


Thanks to Bruce for giving us a behind the scenes look at the G.Loomis factory. These rods are handmade right here in the U.S. and the secret sauce isn't just the rod's design and materials but the experienced employees that construct these rods each and everyday

 

With the tour done it was time to fish some of these rods, and I spent the next two days fishing with Bruce Holt and Pro Angler Renauld Pelletier. Stay tuned for part two as we hit the Columbia and Willamette River in search of Smallmouth Bass.


 

 

   

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