Columbus — If there had been a “Youngest Entrepreneur Award” bestowed upon a vendor at February’s National Fishing Expo in Columbus the trophy would have made the return trip to Quincy, Ohio, in the arms of Brezlyn Reneer. This 16-year-old young lady is the owner of Breezy Bombers, a soft plastic bait company.
In January, she had a booth at the Cincinnati National Fishing Expo and followed that show with the Expo in Columbus. Brezlyn started making baits when she was 12. At this point she was making baits at no charge for her stepfather and his bass club buddies. Two years later, she officially started Breezy Bombers.
“Sales were super slow,” said Brezlyn.
Her baits were being sold on Instagram and Facebook, but her retail instincts told her that drastic measures were needed to increase sales.
When the 2021 National Fishing Expo hit Columbus, Brezlyn was there to promote her baits. She did not have a booth at the show, nor did she have a price tag on any of the 30 bags of baits she had with her. Brezlyn was giving her baits away to anybody who would take them. However, she did have one person targeted to receive a sample of Breezy Bombers.
“I introduced myself to Brian Latimer and gave him a bag of baits. That really got things started,” said Brezlyn.
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Latimer, a professional bass angler and guest speaker at the Expo, was so impressed that he invited Brezlyn to his Z-Man Fishing Products booth where he filmed a segment with her for his Facebook page.
“After that segment ran on Facebook, I had 30 orders in one week!” said Brezlyn.
Latimer did not stop with the Facebook broadcast when it came to Brezlyn. One month later, Brezlyn received an invitation from the president of Z-Man Baits to visit the company’s headquarters in Ladson, South Carolina.
“We were there on March 30, 2022. I’ll never forget that date,” said Brezlyn. “I didn’t sleep the night before, I’ll tell ya!”
“I was very impressed that Brezlyn and her family made the trip all the way to South Carolina to visit us,” said Daniel Nussbaum, president of Z-Man Fishing Products.
“She’s the most impressive teenager I’ve ever met,” is how Brian Latimer describes the young lady from Quincy, Ohio.
Another interesting event resulting from her Facebook experience with Latimer took place at the recent Expo in Columbus.
“All of a sudden, I heard ‘There she is!’ It was two adults almost running to my booth,” explained Brezlyn. “Then they asked for my autograph.”
The couple’s son lives in Maine, and he had seen the Facebook post with Brezlyn and Latimer. Once Brezlyn signed her first ever autograph, she then posed for several photos with the couple who had been given specific directions from their son to do so.
Brezlyn’s friendship with bass fishing’s best does not end with Latimer. Over the past 18 months, she has become fast friends with Shaw Grigsby. One of the most popular professional anglers of all-time, Grigsby expressed his total astonishment of this young lady.
“Her work ethic and dedication are tremendous,” said Grigsby. “She’s pouring those baits in two- and four-piece molds. That’s just unreal.”
When Grigsby attends ICAST, the fishing industries trade show, this summer, his pass to the show will read “Shaw Grigsby + 1.” The 1 will be Brezlyn Reneer. She will be staying at Grigsby’s home in Gainesville, Florida, prior to ICAST.
“ICAST has a tournament that Shaw is fishing. I can’t fish the tournament with him but he is going to take me fishing on the practice day before the tournament. How cool is that!” exclaimed Brezlyn in a voice that climbed higher with each spoken word.
“Shaw is going to take me to visit Terry Scroggins, too,” added Brezlyn. “His nickname is Big Show.”
For a 12-year-old girl who started making free fishing lures for her dad and his fishing buddies, her accomplishments and professional contacts seem astonishing until you meet her. Brezlyn already has her goals set for the next 10 years. Her short-term goal is to expand her fishing expo appearances from two to four per year. She has her eye on a fishing show in Indiana and possibly one in east Tennessee. She expects to have an increased inventory by that time as well.
In five years, she would like to travel to multiple states such as Michigan, Virginia, and Kentucky as well as her incursions to Tennessee and Indiana.
She hopes to be into a full-time lure-making career in seven to 10 years. Her determined attitude is a clear indication of her academic skills. This young businesswoman is an honor roll student, but she sheepishly admits that “I get an occasional B in history.”
Brezlyn tries to allocate three hours per day or 15 hours a week for lure production. However, that goal is often unreached since she is a full-time student with plenty of extracurricular activities at school. In addition to playing soccer, Brezlyn is involved in announcing basketball games and a group called P.B.I.S.
“P.B.I.S. stands for Positive Behavior Intervention Supports,” explained Brezlyn. “We try to make school a better place to be.”
When it comes to where Brezlyn finds her support, she quickly identifies her parents, Greg and Betsy Shoopman. Without a driver’s license, Brezlyn is dependent on her parents when it comes to attending fishing expos. Her parents also assist when it comes to packing products for her expo adventures.
“They’re the only reason I can do this. They are my rock,” said Brezlyn. “I can’t thank them enough.”
And if you’re wondering if this young executive actually fishes, that answer is a definite yes. She can be found fishing the Buckeye Kayak Fishing Trail. Her current favorite fishing destination is Kiser Lake, a body of water in West Central Ohio that does not allow motors of any kind. Her bucket list of lakes where she wants to launch her kayak includes Lake Okeechobee in Florida and Lake Fork in Texas.
“I like standing up in my kayak and pitching into brush,” says the avid angler.
If she enjoys standing in a kayak to pitch baits into heavy cover, she should do well on the deck of Grigsby’s boat pitching a Breezy Bomber into weed-clogged Florida waters where the next bite could be a 10-pounder.
With Brezlyn and the Breezy Bombers about to invade the Sunshine State, maybe somebody should warn those Florida bass.