Every summer Rapala has an employee fishing tournament and participants get a commerative shirt that displays the creativy we as consumers have come to expect from Rapala's marketing group. "So, you want to work at Rapala? Get in line....it starts somewhere north of Saskatoon!" was featured on the shirt this year. For anglers, who wouldn't dream of working for Rapala? Or at least who wouldn't want to work for a company that has an annual-employee fishing tournament?!!
I've been fortunate enough to get to know several of the Rapala team over the past few years. You probably think working there would be great; for an angler, I think it could be the best job in the world! I was talking with a friend who has made a great career in the fishing industry and even for him Rapala would be the ultimate-employment destination.
From the moment you enter the parking lot you know you're somewhere special. I don't think it's a requirement of employment but all of the cars in the lot have some form of Rapala branding on their bumper or rear window. If you happen to be there when pro-staff director/master lure designer Mark Fisher is in town you may catch sight of his obnoxiously-cool wrapped Yukon in the lot. What's even cooler is that the wrap was designed about 75 feet to the east inside the walls of their HQ. Rapala staff is rightfully proud of their brand and not ashamed to show it off.
Walk in the door and it only gets better. Trophies and memoriablia scatter the walls. There's a plaque thanking the staff for the delivery of the 100,000,000th (that's one hundred millionth) Rapala production lure from the early 1990's. They're probably creaping up on the one billion mark if they haven't already passed it. In the conference room is an old photo of Lauri Rapala's cabin where his lure-making business was started in the mid-1930's. It's an amazing beginning of a story that has been developing for over 75 years. I think if Lauri Rapala were around to see this operation he would be pleased...and as a Fin, his smile-of-approval would probably look something like this:
I visit Rapala any chance I get and what I apprecaite about walking the halls is their feeling of confidence that they control their own destiny despite a competitive market and challenging world-economic conditions. There's no false sense of urgency in the corridors; no manufactured drama. Team members understand their rolls and they perform them well. These folks know how to make and sell a fantastic product and operate like you would expect a market leader to conduct business. This is no secret...in fact it's the reason the employment line starts north of Saskatoon!
Don't lose sight of the fact that fishing in MN is entering primetime as the lakes turn and the water temps fade. Grab a Rapala and hit the lake and catch one for Lauri!