Rising to the challenge

It’s been a tough year for everyone but, thanks to a strong inventory, a real team effort and a flexible approach, US tackle supplier F J Neil has continued to supply its dealers throughout the pandemic.

Being adaptable is a key to success for many businesses and F J Neil is no exception – which has stood it in good stead during the last 18 months.

It was founded in 1958 by World War Two veteran Frank J Miritello, who was working for the Otto Gerdau Company, a large trading company in New York. He was in charge of the fishing tackle division which, at the time, imported bamboo poles and other terminal tackle.

In the early days, the product line included a range of tackle plus other recreational products including hunting accessories and baseball gloves from Japan, which were made in the factory which has become Mizuno. Reels were sourced from several factories, including those which eventually became Daiwa and Ryobi. In those days, the factories in Japan relied on import companies in the USA to distribute their products.

The company continued to source items from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea and eventually began to concentrate solely on fishing tackle items.

Today its main products are terminal tackle and accessories, sold under the Dolphin, Tide-Rite, Surf-Rite and Samsu brands.

It is also very active in supplying these items under private branding for several large distributors and manufacturers throughout the country. The ability to readily source special items and components for the trade had also contributed to the growth of the company.

In addition, it also also services customers in Hawaii and Alaska, as well as Canada, Mexico, Guam, American Samoa, Palau, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Panama, Costa Rica, St Thomas, St Vincent and San Salvador.

The company’s Neil Miritello revealed: “The past year has been a challenging yet successful year for us. We were able to remain in operation throughout the entire pandemic and we were fortunate to have gone into 2020 with a very robust inventory.

“So we were able to service our customers with sufficient product to meet the increased demand that the industry had encountered. Our staff worked tirelessly to fill and ship orders on a timely basis. The challenge has been to restock our warehouse as our suppliers struggle with the difficulties presented by the current situation in China and throughout Asia.

“In our view, the supply difficulties that we are now experiencing will continue for the foreseeable future. I think the supply chain in China has been disrupted by many factors including but not limited to the Covid virus, labour shortage, rising materials costs, the shortage of shipping capacity and the weakening of the US dollar.

“Customers must understand that these issues will continue to impact our ability to adequately satisfy the demand for product and planning and flexibility will be imperative in order to meet the demands of the robust market we are seeing.”

But he reassured customers: “Our focus continues to be assuring that we do everything in our power to maintain our inventories at a high level while developing new sources of supply and solidifying our relationships with our key vendors, some of whom we have been with for over 40 years. We will also continue to review our product line so that we can offer the best-selling items to our customers.”

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