Cortland has never been an industry leader in rods, and is not likely to have the resources to become one given the other business challenges they are trying to solve. Digging back through the attic of my mind to the MBA classes I took in entrepreneurship and business policy more than 25 years ago now, I think a more realistic possibility is that once they take a hard look at all their products, brands, distribution channels, competitors, and critical success factors, they will make a strategic decision to concentrate on their essential line business, and sell off the ancillary rod and reel businesses. (If indeed their reel business is worth anything; it may not be. They lost the Hardy relationship, and their traditional manufacturer STH whose reels they rebranded hasn't done anything exciting in a while.) At that point someone new might come in and reinvigorate the Diamondback brand.
The nightmare scenario would be if they decide that the most value (to them) in both rods and reels is to keep offering them to dealers under the Cortland umbrella as part of a full range of fly-fishing products, but without treating each product line as an essential stand-alone business that needs to lead the competiton rather than follow it. That was their traditional business model -- the "Cortland Pro Shop" network of dealers -- but they did not stay ahead of the pack in cutting-edge product development, so in recent decades Orvis has beaten them at their own strategy by offering more and better products over a wider range. (If you own a little low-volume fly shop out at the edge of the woods somewhere, your sales are going to be better if you place your one or two wholesale orders a year through your Orvis rep than through your Cortland rep these days.) If they stay on the same course presumably they would continue to offer mediocre rebranded stuff from foreign manufacturers, rather than try to build the internal capacity to develop market-leading products other than lines and backing on a continuing basis, and Diamondback would remain moribund.
---------- Post added at 01:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:03 PM ----------
Originally Posted by sweetandsalt
It is my understanding that once the VT based Diamondback shop was acquired and closed, it was the end of Diamondback as we had known it. Too bad as they made some very fine rods. The Diamondback name may be used by Cortland for some off-shore product which may or may not be fine but it is not the Diamondback that I knew and appreciated. If I might make a proposal that might do little good; those of you like me who miss original Diamondback, Cortland has all their rod making equipment in storage. Cortland is under completely new ownership with much improved resources, I believe we should express our hope that they will re-open a Cortland, NY based new Diamondback shop and initiate a new generation of great US-built Diamondback rods. Think we can get this done?
It would essentially have to be a start-up from scratch, because there is no present US manufacturing facility and no US staff or product development team. Even most of the old tapers are obsolete in the market today. You could take out the old machines and set them up again, and hire new workers and new product designers, and even try to design a new series of high-end rods that could hold their own against the best of Sage and Loomis and Winston and Orvis, but the only thing that would be the same as the old Diamondback would be the label.
I think what you're really saying is that it's a shame Cortland decided to take the premium Diamondback brand down-market and close its US operations, and it would be nice if Cortland were able to reposition it back into its old premium niche. I suspect, though, that the new owners of Cortland have a lot more wood to chop straightening out their core business before turning their attention to niche expansion.