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Small business owner enjoys spooning

Larry Modrzynski shows craftsmanship

Larry Modrzynski of Holland Township holds a selection of fishing spoons that he makes himself in his garage workshop

Larry Modrzynski is starting to spoon-feed the Great Lakes fisherman.

Modrzynski, a Holland resident, manufactures his own spoons, a portion of fishing tackle that holds the hook.

In his first season as a full-time business operator, Modrzynski is hoping to take Big Lake Lures to new heights.

"I bought the company in April 2006, and this will be my first full season," he said. "My passion was painting, and I was always looking for a small business to run. I love fishing, and it happened to fall in my lap at the right time."

Spoons are four-inch pieces of metal that are slightly indented. They hold the hook while trolling and come in a variety of colors.

Modrzynski paints spoons in his garage. He and wife, Kim, run the business.

"I start off with a steel plank, add an epoxy sealer, which helps its durability," Modrzynski said. "It adheres well to stainless steel. Then we put a primer coat on and a color coat."

Something that separates Modrzynski from other manufacturers is the Extended Glow model, a spoon that glows in the dark to allow fishermen to see where their lines are, and the depth of it.

"Hopefully, I'll be the first one in Michigan to really market this because Michigan is the anchor for fishing equipment," he said. "Previous trials only lasted a short time, but this will glow bright for 12 hours. The most used times are 5 to 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to dark. You can see it 30 or 40 feet deep. It lasts three hours, really intensely."

Pro shops and sporting goods stores are starting to pick up Modrzynski's products all over Michigan, Modrzynski said.

Jerry Loeffler of Don's Sports in Manistee is impressed with the spoons.

"We got Larry's products last year when he was getting his feet wet," Loeffler said. "This year, we increased his product. It is selling out the door. It is a product that is backed by its outcome and does well. The colors are well distributed. It looks good and sells itself. The results of his hard work are evident. He's put some time into it and the quality shows."

Loeffler was especially impressed with Modrzynski's Extended Glow.

"The extended glow shows for itself," he said. "I check them every day, and someone is always asking about it."

Don's Sports sold 15 of Modrzynski's spoons last week and 25 in the month.

"It's a consistent seller," Loeffler said. "It is next to our other spoons, which have been good sellers for five years, and his product is keeping right up with it."

Since Modrzynski, a father of three, is still just starting out, the hardest part is getting his name out there.

"I sponsor all the tournaments on this side of the state," he said. "There is a store called Moonshine store in Escanaba which has been doing the same thing for years and is my competition. A lot of people already have their favorite shops."

Big Lake Lures has about 15 regular clients, but none in the Holland area.

"I want to build up a big enough clientele to keep doing it," Modrzynski said. "I am the youngest manufacturer of tackle at 40, and I want to be around for a while."