Very often, our customers ask where ALX Rods come from and where we source our components. With the growth and movement towards more US-made products, I wanted to take the time to be very transparent in the parts we use for the rods we manufacture. This topic is very near and dear to me personally.
Two things primarily impact our decision on how we source our components - availability and economics (cost). Sadly, there are many rod parts that simply aren't made in the USA. Sometimes the parts we can source made here simply don't allow us to make an affordable rod when combined with the other USA made components and labor. Other times, which we search for, the best option is USA made!
Here is a simple summary of what we use and where it comes from:
IKOS rod blanks - I made the economic decision to source the blanks from China. We have worked directly with the same factory in China since first introducing these blanks. We needed to reach a lower price point and I had few options to achieve that final price.
ZOLO and ENOX rod blanks - 100% US-made, including the carbon fiber used for them. I see no reason to ever change this. These are our premium rods. US-made blanks still have more innovation and better overall quality in my opinion.
Grips - Almost all cork comes from the Mediterranean. That's where the cork forests are in the world. We use two different sources for our finished grips. One is in Canada, and one is in China. I have not found anyone in the USA who can produce grips in the way we use them.
Guides - We work directly with Kigan, a South Korean company that manufactures guides in their South Korean factory. The only US option for guides costs approximately 5x more. The USA has a strong free trade agreement with South Korea and excellent relations. The "premier" guide company in Japan now makes all their guides made in China, as do the other main guide companies, so we are happy to work with Kigan.
Reel seats - We source our reel seats directly from the manufacturer in China. A US-made reel seat is on our radar for the future.
Rod finish and adhesives - 100% made in the USA
Wrapping thread - There is no US option for rod wrapping thread. The last company closed several years ago, so our thread is imported.
Labor - Everyone here at ALX Rods is incredibly proud that all our labor for our rods is by US citizens. We build/assemble/make all of our rods in Aiken, South Carolina. We have four employees who work internally and five "homeworkers." Our homeworkers are contract employees who work from home, supplying the labor to wrap guides on rods.
One part of our industry that personally bothers me is our competitors who claim "made in the USA" when using foreign-made blanks. I believe this is very misleading. We recognize this as "assembled in the USA" (IKOS Series) and "made in the USA" (ZOLO and ENOX). I genuinely believe this is incredibly important to distinguish.
I hope you find this article helps you make a more informed decision about ALX Rods, and you appreciate our willingness to be transparent in how we manufacture our incredible rods!
Thank you for reading,
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