Local angler reels in success to honor friend

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedIn

Photo: Dale McVeigh (left) and his wife Lauren show off some of the products of Gsox Fishing Rod and Lure Protectors. Photo by Lindsey Frazier/The Messenger.

 

By Lindsey Frazier, Editorial Assistant

Loss affects people in different ways.
For Dale McVeigh, it gave him the courage to pursue his life’s passion.
In August of 2020, when the U.S. Navy veteran’s lifelong best friend Kenny “G” Gillam passed away, he knew he had to do more than just work to live. So, when McVeigh went to Sports Academy and Outdoors in Gadsden to find a product to protect his fishing rod and lure and was left wanting, he decided to create his own. In honor of his friend Gillam, he named the company in his memory.
“We were in Key West visiting my wife’s cousin and just kind of get away for a while right after [Kenny] died, and it all sort of hit me,” said McVeigh. “I saw the Navy base down there and I got to thinking that I’m almost 55 and all I’m doing is working, I want to do something different so that’s just kind of the passion.”
“He wanted to honor Kenny but then find a solution to a problem,” said McVeigh’s wife Lauren.
“I did want [Gillam’s] name on it, or what I consider his name to be on it, but it turned into a passion for me and Chad both,” said McVeigh.
A lifelong friend of McVeigh, Chad Wilson is a retired schoolteacher who owns a campground in Guntersville. At one point, McVeigh asked Wilson what his motivation was.
“He said, ‘I want you to retire because Kenny passed away and we needed to spend time fishing and enjoying our lives, or we are going to die working,’ and I don’t want to die working.”
“When we decided to do this, we thought [Gsox Fishing Rod and Lure Proctors] was the appropriate name, so that’s where the G comes from,” said McVeigh. “Everything happened when Kenny died. I just started taking these chances I never took before. If we lose, we lose a little bit of money and [move] on.”
Gsox is a patent pending custom-made rod and lure protector that is made with an expandable low-friction industrial mesh material and a clear flex sleeve. It can be bought with the lure protector or as the sleeve alone. The items come in three different sizes – 7 feet, 7.3 feet and 7.6 feet. It currently comes in four different colors: black, red, blue and platinum, with plans to expand the color selection.
The Christian-based veteran-owned company offers a military discount on all products. Both McVeigh and Lauren have family backgrounds in the military. Dale served in the U.S. Navy for eight years and Lauren’s father was a helicopter pilot who was killed when his helicopter crashed at Fort Rucker.
Wilson was the first to come on board as a partner of Gsox, along with David Elkins, brother-in-law of McVeigh who handles the business and finances  and now longtime friend of the family Pat Garrett as marketing director.
“My idea was the basic principle, but Chad and David have been instrumental,” said McVeigh. “They said, ‘We need to do this and we need to do that.’ David has done the packaging. But it was the support of Lauren and Chad and David that encouraged me to start this up.”
The product has been endorsed by Bassmaster winner Timmy Horton, who stated on his Facebook page that Gsox was the “best thing to come along in fishing since the trolling motor.”
Although McVeigh was humble about his success, Lauren was astonished by the progress he has made in less than a year.
“It’s not about the money,” said McVeigh. “I want to walk through somewhere big and see my product there.”
To date, Gsox is stocked in 18 stores in the Southeast, as well as online stores such as Tackle Warehouse selling across the country. Pitman Creek Wholesale recently reached out to Gsox to distribute its products to retailers across the country with the hope of getting Gsox into stores like Academy Sports and Bass Pro Shops.
Gsox attended a fishing expo at The Venue at Coosa Landing this past spring and completely sold out of its stock. The company created orders to send out after the expo, including orders to the other distributors at the expo.
“It just worked out well,” said McVeigh. “Me, David and Chad were all really proud of it, and [sales] have slowly inclined from when we started up.”
Lauren respectfully disagreed with her husband.
“It has not slowly inclined it has skyrocketed,” she said. “I like how he always stays humble.”
McVeigh considers the partnership with Heroes on the Water, a non-profit organization operating with 52 chapters that provides outdoor wellness services to military veterans and first responders and their families, as the company’s most notable achievement.
“That’s my favorite thing that has happened to us so far,” said McVeigh. “That was a huge deal for me.”
After his daytime job as a superintendent at an asphalt paving company in Birmingham, McVeigh travels to Albertville, where Wilson has set up a small shop for them to hand-make their products.
“When we’re in Albertville, I’m wishing that I did this every day and that it was is all I have to worry about,” said McVeigh.

Latest News

Advanced Manufacturing Center now open
Chamber hosts legislative summit
Young ladies selected for Annual Bal d'Or
STEAM Camp inspires female innovators
ADEM funding for drinking water, sewer projects surpasses $1 billion

Latest Sports News

Ashville grad leaves mark in AHSAA record book
Gadsden State student-athletes make ACCC honor roll
New Gadsden State cross country coach excited for 2024 season
AHSAA names new executive director
Area players make ASWA All-State baseball