PARK FALLS, Wis. – St. Croix Rod announces that Justin Sterner and the team at Outdoors East will be taking over sales representation throughout New England for both conventional rods and fly fishing in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The agency is also being tapped to represent the company’s expanding fly-fishing product lines throughout the entire Northeast, specifically, in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Sterner, a 23-year sales rep veteran and principal owner of Outdoors East since 2009, says he’s excited to be representing the well-established family-owned St. Croix brand. “I live in Vermont, but my roots are in Northern Wisconsin,” Sterner says. “My family has spent our summers there for five generations; it’s where all of us developed our passion for multispecies angling. I’ve always owned St. Croix rods and have a deep affinity for the brand; whether we were out fishing for walleyes, bass, or muskies, we were always fishing with the Best Rods on Earth.”
Before he was allowed to become a sales rep in his father’s (Parker Sterner) rep agency, Sterner says he was required to spend time working in retail. “Dad wanted me to gain a better understanding of the customers I would someday be servicing,” Sterner says. “My first job in the fishing industry was in Milwaukee at The Fly Fishers, where St. Croix Imperials and Legend Elites were some of the first rods I ever sold.”
St. Croix Regional Sales Manager, Alex Smay, says Sterner and the Outdoors East Team are well positioned to garner expanded partnerships and drive new brand awareness in New England and Northeast. “Justin and his team all live the lifestyles of the dealers and anglers they serve, with a serious passion for inshore, surf, freshwater, and fly fishing. Some of the best conventional tackle shops in the country call New England home, and Outdoors East already has a proven track record of expanding business opportunities with category-leading brands with these retailers,” says Smay, adding that It was very important during St. Croix’s search that the team found representation well versed in the diverse inshore, offshore and freshwater fisheries and businesses that make New England special. “The team at Outdoors East is in a very unique position to serve both our conventional and fly partners in both salt and fresh waters at a high level.”
Sterner says he’s looking forward to ample opportunities to reinforce the St. Croix brand and the Best Rods on Earth to New England retailers. “We’ll do more listening than talking in the beginning for sure,” he says. “Every retailer is different, so we’ll open a dialogue designed to learn about specific needs, then assess opportunities and develop programs that support their success. The long-term goal is to expand awareness of St. Croix’s angler-driven philosophy and grow the brand throughout the region in partnership with our dealers.”
When it comes to the fly-fishing side of the business, Sterner says brand-building will be the primary goal. “St. Croix has made fly rods continuously for over 60 years. There’s a lot of history there, and so many fly anglers have a personal story to tell about St. Croix rods – whether it was their first fly rod or the one that’s still in their quiver,” Sterner says. “Now, the company is investing significantly and taking other key steps to re-energize the fly side of its business and earn a position as a leader in the fly-rod market. There are very exciting things coming from St. Croix for the passionate fly angler, and we will need to work hard to establish strong retail partnerships with new and existing retail partners alike so we can tell our story to anglers.”
St. Croix Fly Fishing Director of Sales, Zack Dalton, agrees with Smay. “Like me and others on the St. Croix Team, Justin grew up in the fishing industry and has valuable and hard-earned experience on both sides of the sales/dealer relationship. He also has a personal history and a passionate connection with our brand. We’re looking forward to leveraging the experience and knowledge of the Outdoors East Team for the benefit of our retail partners and, ultimately, anglers.”
Sterner and fellow Outdoors East reps, Patrick Hilbert and Bill Buttino, assumed their responsibilities on April 25.
About St. Croix Rod
Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the “Best Rods on Earth” for nearly 75 years. Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing. The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls and Fresnillo, Mexico. With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Victory Avid®, Premier®, RIFT, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world.