Lucky Strike Bait Works has an 87 year history as a family-run Peterborough manufacturing business. On October 28th, members of the Peterborough Economic Development team took part in their first-ever factory tour. This tour was organized by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) as a Manufacturing Insights Tour.
Lucky Strike Bait Works manufactures fishing lures and nets which are found on shelves at Canadian Tire and Walmart stores across the country. The company has adapted in its history, with each new generation of leadership bringing a different skillset to their role as head of the company. They also adapt with to the current market – and were tasked with the manufacture of munitions during the Second World War.
Dustin Rhodes, great-grandson of the company’s founder Frank Edgar, came into the company as a university graduate. After a few years of figuring out the intricacies within the companies four walls, he decided to branch out and attend his first Kawartha Manufacturers’ Association meeting. Through the KMA, Dustin found a network of other manufacturers, funding opportunities, and perhaps most importantly, reassurance. “Some of the problems we have here actually exist elsewhere.” Dustin explained and from there opportunities to modernize the facility came.
Through the support of CME Smart Funding, Lucky Strike was able to purchase equipment in order to customize fishing tackle for special orders. “[Peterborough Economic Development] helped write the grant application – it wasn’t easy – but it was very worthwhile.” said Dustin, as he described the support he found in the community.
Soon after, with the assistance of the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, they were able to access funds from Peterborough Community Futures Development Corporation (PCFDC) in order to create a strategic marketing plan.
Most recently, through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, Lucky Strike has been able to begin the transition to lean manufacturing – a process that they hope will allow them to maximize their efficiencies and expand their markets into the United States.
On the tour of Lucky Strike facility, the company’s story unfolded as we learned the origin of their equipment and products, and how they are innovating their practices to be successful in the future.