From 1908-1983 Chris concentrated on expanding the line of nets and also expanding the customer base. This was no mean feat with a very slim budget as in the early 1980’s there was no internet and the options were phone calls, advertising in print, snail mail and, of course, sales trips on the road. Luckily there were quite a few hotels available for under $20 per night. We spent a lot of time doing all of the above and it began to pay off. By 1983 we got our first big break – an order from Japan for 100 nets (which was HUGE).
In November of 1983 we moved the business to Bozeman, Montana along with our newest acquisition, our son Max. If we were going to get serious about this fledgling business it seemed like the likely place to do it as Montana was mecca for fly fishing. Pristine waters, access to Yellowstone Park and so many other fly fishermen.
As finances were still slim we bought an old house that had a 4 car garage so that we could each have a space in which to work. In spite of the fact that we had to put a new roof on the house, install electricity in the shop and once again get firewood to burn in the old coal stove that was left in the garage Chris managed to finish the new order in good time. This new beginning proved to be a good one and within 3 years we purchased a shop outside of Bozeman that housed both businesses: Brodin Landing Nets and Distelfink Designs (previously Blank Graphics).
The net line had expanded to more than 20 styles and sizes and in the late 80’s Chris designed a new net release that was designed to attach a net from the hoop instead of the handle. This made sense as it was easier to grab the net quickly (it was quick release) and the net did not swing as much so it did not get caught in the brush. The new release was called a Pelican Clip and Brodin received a Kudo from Fly rod and Reel.
In June of 1991 there was a catastrophic fire in the new shop. Luckily for Brodin Nets the fire was on the Distelfink side but there was considerable smoke damage on the Brodin side of the shop. It was suspected arson but never proven. The next couple of months were spent cleaning up and producing the orders for the season.
Distelfink moved into Bozeman to an old warehouse while the shop was reconstructed as the graphics shop was a total loss.