Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Opinion on the Future of Thomas & Thomas

Thomas & Thomas has a history of building top quality fly rods; unfortunately, they have a creel full of brand image problems. Over the last few years, they have dealt with a number of setbacks including weather-related production delays, financial problems stemming from the financial crisis, and possible mismanagement (speculation on my part). Mark Richens, a T&T enthusiast and successful businessman, hopes to turn it around.

I have a few thoughts about T&T and their potential for moving forward. In my mind, they have a reputation for building quality, American-made rods for upper-class anglers. Although a number of their rods are at a similar price point to brands like Sage, Scott, and Winston, I don't know many anglers who would pick a T&T over the aforementioned brands. Their product lines have been relatively stagnant over the last decade, and they are going to need a great deal of innovation if they want to succeed.

Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that Mark Richens, the new owner, will be able to bring about these changes. He seems to fit into the exact category of angler that T&T has targeted over the last decade. He will need to make T&T a relevant brand for the younger generation of anglers who fish rods like Sage, Scott, and Winston. Further, they need to increase production to a level that will allow T&T rods to be found on the rod racks of more fly shops. Finally, they need to pour some cash into developing rods that can compete, technologically, with the rods of nearly every other brand.

Over the next few years, we'll see if T&T can make it happen. Perhaps I'm too skeptical, but I just don't see it happening. I'll set the over/under for new ownership at three years. What do you guys think?

An interview with the new owner, Mark Richens, can be heard over at The Itinerant Angler.


  1. this is an interesting subject. I have owned the other 3 brands you stated over the years and not a T&T yet. Mainly for the reason where I grew up they didn't sell them locally. I really don't know much about them will listen to see what the owner will say in his interview. Great post! Hopefully they can pull it off

  2. Dustin - I think you'll enjoy the interview. You'll get a great idea about who the new owner is and what he plans to do. I'm rooting for T&T, but they have a big task ahead!

  3. I'll listen to the interview as soon as I can get away from work. I'm afraid that this isn't the best time to try and try around T&T.

  4. Howard - T&T has needed rejuvenation for a while. I'd be interested in seeing the terms of the deal. I bet he got T&T for a reasonable price, but it is going to take a lot of cash to get 'em to the point where they can compete with the big boys.

  5. I don't know a thing about T&T, but the release sounds positive and encouraging. Sure, press releases are supposed to sound that way but why not give the guy credit for putting the money up and trying to revive a brand he's a fan of. He's acknowledging the problems that brought the brand down, honoring warranties, and putting people to work. Good for you Mark Richens,


  6. Wayne - It't not that I'm not rooting for T&T. I just think the task ahead is too great. We'll wait and see!