A lot has changed since Bill Kiel’s great-grandfather started Carron Net Co. 85 years ago making fishing nets out of his home.
For decades, the Two Rivers company thrived on making fishing and sports nets, but that changed in the 1970s when fishing began to decline and international markets opened, allowing more nets to flow into the country cheaply.
The company discontinued fishing nets and turned its attention to industrial netting, says Kiel, president, CEO and fourth-generation leader of the company. Today, the business is evenly divided between industrial and sports nets.
“The nice thing about that product is that those nets are basically all made to order,” Kiel says. “That really kind of gives us a niche in that market. It’s been a stronghold for us.”
Carron, which employs about 35, manufactures nets for basketball, football, soccer, volleyball and tennis, as well as batting cage netting and gym curtain dividers. Professional and college sports teams, including the Green Bay Packers, use Carron Nets. The company recently finished a run of nets for the NBA All-Star Weekend.
Customer care, whether for a big client like the Packers or a small player, continues to set Carron apart, Kiel says.