UC's factory is now up and running. Actually it's been up and running for about 6 weeks time now. The new factory replaces the one they had out in Calimesa, which was not set up or run as professionally as is their new facility here in Huntington Beach. The owner of the firm has made two, almost three years investment to get to the point they are now. The new factory is state of the art, everything done first rate. Their oven is one of the largest in the industry, higher in volume, and tall enough to deal with 10 foot blanks...and a bit more. The staffing of the new plant is also something to boast about, with about 30 years experience between their two top guys. All in all, the new factory is something Peter Williams can be proud of, and we fisherman who remember how good the old GUSA's were can be excited about.
The new UC rods are better than the old GUSA's (back in the days when they were properly made) and we have the benefit of newer designs in the heavy series of Challenger Platinum rods. They have their versions of 2x4's as well, and a few other unique niche blanks in the planning stages.
Southern California can now boast having the top three rod building manufacturers in the world producing saltwater blanks here. Consider Seeker, Calstar and UC, as well as Accurate, Avet, Tiburon and Newell all local SoCal manufacturers of fishing gear. This is the center of sportfishing manufacturers, and that's why UC decided to build their factory here in Huntington Beach.
I made a brief video tour of the new facility, with most of the steps of production shown. There are a few propietary things UC does that are not shown on the video or in the production steps. Here's a link to our UC page where you'll find the link and some images of the new plant.
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Great News, I love Capitalism.
Is UC still in business or is it changing hands again? I'm reading conflicting reports; they're moving all production to Oz, they're only taking large-volume orders ... what's going on?
Really very unfortunate circumstances on this one. UC took off where GUSA left off, bring back top quality production, building a new factory, introducing many new blanks to rod builders and fishermen focused on specific applications. They were on the right track in so many ways. But, sadly its looking like they are going away. Their production manager left the firm. The owner may be at the end of his patience and funding for this venture. It is our hope that the company will be sold and come back. But, for now there is no production and the new factory is closed. Very sad situation and the dream of the family that brought this firm back to life looks to be over. They went through so many challenges, two different factories were built, three different production managers, a big investment of time and resources. They were so close, jumped through all the hoops building a factory in California requires and then had problems with the most important two factors of any business - funding and people. Time will tell...
Definitely a pity. Most of my angling's done as a surfcaster in NY, and a couple of the major names in surf rods are supposed to be in trouble too.
Peter, the Australian gentleman who owned UC had the right vision and knew the history of GUSA well since he was the distributor of that line in OZ. (he also handles Calstar there - all of his lines were USA products). But, running a plant 10 thousand miles away proved impossible. WHen he or his son were here, things flowed well. When they were not here production slowed. So, profitability was always out of reach. With the right guy in place here, additional financial resources available, I really felt they were on the verge of becoming a significant player. They had some great designs, blanks other manufacturers did not offer, and I felt their quality and fishability was beyond excellent. We will see what the future holds, sure hope someone comes along and buys Peter out and gets the factory rolling again!!!
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