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Danlures: Minnesota man honors dad by selling the fishing jigs he invented

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A young entrepreneur from Wadena, Minnesota, has hit a breakthrough selling a unique fishing jig.

Ivan Lorentz, 30, is now seeing his Danlure being sold in Mill's Fleet Farm stores all across the Midwest.

As a small businessman, Lorentz has had a tough road the past few years trying to make a go of his business. What's been even tougher is that he's doing it without his dad, Dan Lorentz - the man who came up with idea for the jig in the first place, and the man for whom it's named.

The story of how the Danlure came about was recently told in an article by the Verndale Sun.

Dan Lorentz, an avid angler and hunter, developed a new design for the jig which allows the hook to swivel. He perfected the design while he was being treated for colon cancer.

He and Ivan started their new company in 2011, and started selling Danlures on a small scale, said the Sun.

But Dan died in 2012 after a four-year battle with cancer - before the Danlure really took off.

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“We started the patent process before dad died," Ivan Lorentz said, according to the Sun. "After he passed we were awarded the utility and design patents."

It's the swivel concept of the jig that makes it unique and is the subject of the patent.

“It works with any kind of bait you want to use and gives it a more realistic presentation," Lorentz explained.

The younger Lorentz traveled to sports shows all over the Midwest, showing off the Danlure and hoping to lure customers, as well as some retailers who would stock and sell it.

Word eventually spread through those personal contacts and via social media, and sales started picking up.

The big break came when Lorentz connected with the buyers at Mill's Fleet Farm, who decided to stock Danlures in nearly 30 stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota starting last spring.

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Lorentz calls that a "game changer."

"Fleet Farm ... gave me a chance when nobody else would. I don’t even know how to thank them," he said, according to the Sun.

Here's another profile of the company by the Outdoor Report:

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Lorentz is honoring his father's memory by continuing Dan's tradition of philanthropy. The company has donated hundreds of jigs to local community organizations, and it also supports veterans groups and cancer charities.

Dan's legacy is also kept alive through a specific jig, the Danny Jig, which is painted red, white and blue, "because it stands for ... an all-American company," said Lorentz.

An all red version, the Jane Jig, honors the memory of Dan's granddaughter, who died of leukemia just a few months before Dan.

Besides Fleet Farm, Danlures are available at Weber's Hardware in Wadena, and online.

And what would Dan Lorentz think of the popularity of his namesake fishing jig?

"I think he'd be proud," said Ivan.

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