The combination of a new fishing reel, the dust of a Howard Prairie Lake campground and a penchant for cleanliness put a Medford man on the cusp of what he hopes will be the next must-have gadget for anglers looking to care for their gear.
Nick Allegretti is the creator and purveyor of the "Reel Rag," a soft fabric cover for spinning reels that doubles as a wash cloth and buff rag that can be washed and rung out after every outdoor excursion.
The 43-year-old hospital pharmacy technician had his light-bulb moment two summers ago while digging dirt out of a new spinning reel at Grizzly Campground. Now he's looking to penetrate the local outdoor market, believing the need to protect gear purchases is greater now more than ever in these economic times.
"It kind of dawned on me up there that I need to create something that allows you to clean your hands, your gear, your sunglasses, and serve as a protective cover," Allegretti says.
He sat on the idea for more than a year, but after watching other unacted-upon business ideas get picked up and run with by others, he figured it was now or never.
"If I don't do this, someone else will," Allegretti says.
Reel rags come in four colors and, for now, just one size that fits a standard trout-fishing reel. It retails for $5.95, and he's sold more than 60 since launching the product last month, he says.
They are sewed individually by a woman in Ruch and sold at the Lost Creek Lake marina, Lake of the Woods Resort, Pat's Hand Tied Flies in Trail, The Fishing Hole in Shady Cove, Howard Prairie Resort and The Market at The Running Y Ranch outside of Klamath Falls.
Allegretti says he intends to develop an arsenal of sales data to approach big-ticket catalog retailers in the future.
He plans to demonstrate and sell the Reel Rags Saturday at the Lost Creek Lake marina and do the same demonstration July 25 at Lake of the Woods.
Allegretti says he plans to come out soon with a model designed for fly reels, followed by one to fit level-wind reels and larger spinning reels.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail email@example.com.