Thomas & Thomas Rodmakers has new owner
GREENFIELD — Thomas & Thomas Rodmakers has a new owner.
The 34-year-old Connecticut man who took ownership about three weeks ago said he has been fly fishing since he was 5 years old and plans to continue the company’s tradition of making top-quality, American-made fly rods of all types.
Neville Orsmond said he decided to buy Thomas & Thomas because he wanted to mix business with his lifelong passion.
“I’ve been fly fishing my whole life,” said Orsmond. “I’ve always used Thomas & Thomas fly rods. I plan to continue to make them the same as they’ve always been made.”
Orsmond said Tom Dorsey, one of the co-founders of the 45-year-old company, will work full-time for him.
“It’s a spectacular company with an unbelievable brand,” said Orsmond.
He said the company will stay in Greenfield and he hopes eventually to expand by opening a “full-blown fly shop.”
“All of the employees will stay with us,” said Orsmond. “We have 11 full-time employees who work in the shop and four who work from home.”
Orsmond said any changes that might be made in the future will be for the better.
He said he loves being located at 627 Barton Road, which is just down the road from Kringle Candle Co.
“There’s a lot of traffic this way and I’m hoping people will stop in and see us,” he said. “I know our employees and customers are very excited and happy about the change.”
Orsmond said he will be a hands-on owner. He said previous owner Mark Richens, from whom he bought the company, ran it most recently from England because of family commitments.
“I am honored to take ownership of this storied rod shop and excited about the possibilities for the future,” said Orsmond, originally from South Africa.
Orsmond, who has a wife and 2-year-old twin daughters, said he has worked with the Thomas & Thomas team for the past three months, because the previous owner gave him access as they worked through the details of the sale.
He said the transition is and will continue to be seamless for customers, dealers and employees.
“The opportunity to work within the fly fishing industry and with the devoted staff at Thomas & Thomas is a dream come true, and I’ll be giving it my all to ensure Thomas & Thomas stays at the top in terms of fly rod performance and craftsmanship,” he said.
Orsmond previously owned a coffee roasting company — he said he has always been an entrepreneur.
“This business is also my love and passion, though,” he said.
Orsmond said he will be in Greenfield at least five days a week for a while and will eventually cut back to three or four days so he can spend time with his family. He said it is a two-hour drive from his home.
Thomas & Thomas was born out of passion in Pennsylvania in 1969, according to Dorsey.
He said he had an “unbridled and irresistible drive to create the most beautiful and perfect fly rods that human hands could create.
“Our motivation and energy was driven more by the rewards of artistic pride than by financial profit,” said Dorsey.
The company moved to Turners Falls in 1972, Dorsey’s co-founder left in 1977 and Dorsey sold his share in 1991. The company moved to Greenfield several years ago.
Dorsey, like Orsmond, said going to work has never been onerous at Thomas & Thomas, because he’s been doing what he loves.
Dorsey said Orsmond is one of the most passion-driven people he’s met. He said Orsmond is enthusiastic about owning the company and wants to continue with the same goal Dorsey had when he started.
Orsmond bought the brand and the Greenfield facility. He said he will continue to make bamboo, glass and graphite fly rods. He replaces Richens as president and chief executive officer.