Photo: A range of Alvey reels from across the century on display at the company's factory. (ABC News: Melanie Vujkovic)
As Bruce Alvey reflects on the success of his family company's 97-year history, he believes its greatest strength led to its downfall.With the iconic Queensland fishing reel company Alvey set to close its doors due to poor sales, Mr Alvey said the quality and longevity of their products meant people did not need go back and make purchases often.
"People say, 'oh your product is too good, that's why you don't sell enough' but as we've said, if we made a product 30 years ago that lasted five years no-one would have wanted it," Mr Alvey said.
"When we were growing up, you bought something that was of value for money and you expected to get a better life out of it, and that's what we've made, and that's what we live by," he said.
Tony Robinson was in charge of assembly and quality control and has worked for the company for 38 years.
"It's been my passion but we make the product too well," he said.
"I see a lot of things in the market these days and the longevity is just not there — that's what's been the downfall of our product … it lasts too long."
Photo: Tony Robinson has worked for the Alvey fishing reel company for 38 years. (ABC News: Melanie Vujkovic)
Mr Alvey made the announcement that the family-run company would close on its Facebook page yesterday.
"It is with great sadness I have to announce that Alvey Reels Australia will be closing down," he said.
"Our manufacturing facility at Carole Park has served us well since 1978 but sales of our reels are now so low they cannot generate the income required to keep the business going."
Charles Alvey began producing fishing reels in 1920 and went into business with his son Ken Alvey.
The current factory at Carole Park in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, has been operating since 1978.
The company's Facebook page has been flooded with well-wishers prompting thanks.
"To say it doesn't touch a heart-string would be a lie, our customers are always at the forefront of our thoughts," he said.
'Just can't compete anymore'
Bruce Alvey, Charles' great grandson and the company's managing director, said they had suffered a dramatic drop in sales, particularly in the last six months.
"Unfortunately costs don't drop — they're going up — so we've had to make the very sad decision to close the business down," he said.
Over the years the company has employed hundreds of people, but now there is just 17 staff members left.
"It's a changing market and we've just found that the style of fishing our gear is used for seems to be waning and the volume of sales is not there," Mr Alvey said.
"It's probably a bit the same as Holden and Ford — it gets to a point where you just can't compete anymore."More than 90 per cent of the product was made in-house.
Photo: Bruce and Glenn Alvey stand together at their fishing reel factory in Ipswich. (ABC News: Melanie Vujkovic)
Alvey listed as Queensland iconThe Queensland National Trust listed Alvey as an icon of the state in 2004, along with Queensland's Ekka and the Fourex man.
Today, the family business has fielded thousands of calls, messages and drop-ins from devastated customers.
One long-time customer, Stuart Peall, made a personal visit to the factory to wish the team all the best.
"That's how we grew up, a lot of memories, my dad has since passed, so with Alvey closing that brings back memories and the times we had fishing and learning how to fish using Alvey reels," Mr Peall said.