A growing business moved into new quarters in Coon Rapids this week.
Tuned Up Custom Rods LLC., which has been operating out of the basement of a Coon Rapids residence for the three years of its existence, opened its doors Tuesday in a city-owned office building at 1425 Coon Rapids Blvd.
The Coon Rapids Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), which comprises the seven members of the Coon Rapids City Council, approved a lease agreement with the company at its meeting March 19.
Tuned Up Custom Rods will occupy a first-floor suite of 850 square feet for its business, which includes assembly, packaging, shipping and administrative functions.
The lease approved by the HRA has a rent of $500 a month for the first year, increasing to a market rate of $850 a month the second year on a month-to-month lease basis with an annual inflation adjustment, according to Marc Nevinski, city community development director.
“This is a below-market rate, but provides a start-up company a period of time to transition into commercial space and further establish itself,” Nevinski said.
Since John Burback, chief executive officer, and Adam Audette, president, started the business, it has been operating out of the basement of Burback’s Coon Rapids home.
Tuned Up Custom Rods custom designs fishing rods for its customers, then sends the designs to manufacturers in the United States or abroad to make the rods before assembling, finishing and tuning the rods to customers’ specifications back at its facility, according to Burback.
“We custom design the rods in house,” Burback said.
These include open water, hard water and fly rods.
Burback had his own rod building business for 10 years before joining with Audette, who lives in Brooklyn Park, to start Tuned Up Custom Rods.
According to the Tuned Up Custom Rods, Audette “is the brainchild of the Tuned Up idea” and with a background in sales, he has developed many of the newest rods.
The company is very much a family affair with family members of Burback and Audette comprising most of the employees, except for two sales staff, Burback said.
The move to an office building was triggered by the fact that “we were running out of room in my basement,” he said.
The reason was what Burback called a “stellar sales year” in 2012 when sales were three times greater than 2011.
And that trend is continuing in 2013, he said. “We are on pace to triple our sales again this year,” Burback said.
The sales growth has been the result of the success of two new ice fishing rods on the market – one called “precision” and the other “precision noodle” – that Tuned Up Custom Rods LLC rolled out last year, according to Burback.
Thanks to the promotional work of the company’s pro staff and then word of mouth, the rods have proved very popular, Burback said.
Now the company is planning to introduce what Burback calls a “revolutionary” new ice fishing rod in July named the “quicktip,” he said.
“No one else makes this type of rod which covers all applications and will be the most sensitive rod that is made,” Burback said.
Burback anticipates the new product will continued to boost the company’s sales growth.
The office building on Coon Rapids Boulevard was chosen for the company’s new home because of its easy accessibility for Tuned Up Custom Rods’ customer base in the northwest suburbs and the office’s proximity to TH 610 and Highway 10, according to Burback.
According to its website, rods produced by Tuned Up Custom Rods are “handmade for the new-age angler.”
“We take the everyday rod and tweak it for individual technique, style and situation,” the website states.
The rods are not production-built, but “intricately made from the finest components on the market,” it states.
The company also does rod repair on a case-by-case basis and sells rod building supplies.
Peter Bodley is at firstname.lastname@example.org