Driving Our Economy Forward: Zoe Angling Group
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The INCubator has helped plenty of Chattanooga businesses flourish, including Zoe Angling Group.
This local business not only works in the fishing market, but it also creates jobs for those in need overseas.
It’s another way Zoe Angling is driving our economy forward.
“Zoe Angling Group started about eight years ago,” said Jeff Coffey, Founder and CEO. “We started as Fair Flies with the intent that rather than exploiting people to make sporting goods, that instead we could use sporting goods in our case – flies, jigs, lures – to create jobs that pay double living wages for women that have come out of the sex trade.”
Coffey says they work in places like Nepal and India and Tunisia, with partners there to create products to be able to create sustainable jobs.
“We work with various agencies, people that are helping those that want help get help,” he said. “The problem is 92% of those that get rescued end up back in the red-light districts. The reason is nobody will hire them, and so what we figured is that we could create jobs.”
It stems from Coffey’s passion for fishing.
“This is Pivot. This is our first conventional brand where we’re bringing all the materials that we’ve created over the years to the conventional market not just in the fly market. And so, this has been our new big launch, is a completely non-toxic line that is better than fishing with lead. So that we quit leaving lead in our waterways. We’ve become innovators even in the materials. So, we didn’t want to hand toxic materials to our staff that we’re trying to you know find a new life. So, we have, we are the first line of materials for flies and lures. It is completely EPA certified non-toxic.”
Zoe Angling Group moved to Chattanooga two years ago.
“We were looking for space, we thought we had another business partner we were going to go in with, and it didn’t work out. I was introduced to Bill [Lupia] and we quickly went through the process, and we were accepted into the [Hamilton County Business Development Center] building with our business plan,” Coffey said. “Being here in the building and being connected immediately to the business community has been really powerful. For our company I mean in two short years we’ve grown by 15 staff. I think we’re over 10 000 square feet now in the building. And we’ve raised about $3 million since we got here as a result of this building. There’s a couple of the younger guys here that I get to mentor, and there’s a couple of guys that are further down the road and some of their sciences that I can go and sit down and talk to. So, when we move out, we plan on taking some of those other companies with us as they graduate. And keep that community going forward because we are the business community of Chattanooga.”