Now boasting a new 150,000-square foot headquarters in Rogers, Clam Outdoors had humble beginnings in Dave Genz’s garage.
Dave Genz started what would become Clam Outdoors by hand making portable ice fishing shelters in his garage 35 years ago.
Hailing from St. Cloud, Minnesota, Genz and his product have revolutionized ice fishing.
“My wife, Patsy, sewed them on her machine,” Genz told reporters of the early days “We made five that first year, then 20 the next and 80 the third year.”
Genz is humble about his success, and said “It’s the American dream — we started in our garage and now it’s the number 1-selling fish house in the world. I never dreamed it would get as big as it has.”
In 1992, Genz sold his licensing to Clam Outdoors, but continued to work for the company. He went around the country as a promoter and advisor on the products, giving demonstrations and speaking of the company on television and radio.
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“Dave’s responsible for what ice fishing is today,” said Nick Chiodo, Clam Outdoors’ director of marketing. “Every house out there on a sled is a version of what he started in his garage. It’s incredible. He is Mr. Ice Fishing.”
Genz knows he couldn’t have taken the company where it is today without help from people like Dave Osborne, who bought Clam Outdoors in 2003.
Osborne purchased the company when it only sold eight products, and “Now we have more than 750,” he said. “I always say it’s better to be lucky than good. When I jumped in, I didn’t know it [ice fishing] would take off like it has. He [Genz] started it, and we’ve brought it mainstream.”
Currently the highest seller of portable ice shelters, Clam Outdoors now offers fishing accessories ranging from clothing, to lures, and more. As ice fishing continues to grow and develop families and women alike are becoming attracted to the sport, thanks to Genz and Clam Outdoors.
“We make it fun to go outside in the winter. We’re Minnesotans; we should enjoy winter,” Genz said.
For more information and products visit the Clam Outdoors website.