By: Gina Lanaux

This week, I met two 13-year-old boys who have started a business called Bay Boys Lure Company. Thomas Gross and Bennett Lieb are 7th graders at Bayside Academy and are on their way to creating a very successful business: conceived, funded, manufactured, and marketed entirely by themselves. Of course, because they are so young, moms and dads are advisors, yet mothers, Kim Gross and Ashley Lieb, clearly state that these entrepreneurs are on their own.

It all started when Bennett got a mystery tackle box for his birthday in 2022. In it was a lure, a Savage Salt Squid, that piqued both boy's interest in making lures themselves. Bennett and Thomas did research and cost analysis to determine how much they needed to make fishing lures. They mowed lawns and did chores, and with $80 a piece, they bought materials and made their first lure, a Crawfish, in October of that same year.  Because mom Ashley is a graphic designer, she helped make their logo, using a picture of a John Boat that Thomas and his Dad, Thomas, had made. Bay Boys Lure Company was up and running! 

Freshwater lures for Bass fishing were first in production. Plastisol, a white liquid heated in a $20 microwave the boys bought on Facebook Marketplace is the material used. They add color and glitter to the mixture and inject it into metal molds of Swim Baits, Worms, Lizards, and Wacky Rigs. ( This writer is learning fish stuff! )  They test each lure in a curing bath to see if they will sink or float and eventually put them to the test in freshwater ponds.  In the Spring of 2023, they expanded their products to feature Saltwater lures like Big Grubs and Shrimp Grubs for Offshore fishing. To test these lures, the boys rely on their Dads, Thomas and Jon, and other friends to take them out into the Gulf. Thomas says the best fish he caught on one of his lures was a Mahi on a 9-inch grub.

Finding time to grow their business has been challenging this year because 7th-grade  academics and multiple sports keep the partners busy. They devote all summer and most holidays, and because they live in the same neighborhood, Bennett scooters back and forth to Thomas’s house, where their workshop and office are. Their parents require them to wear gas masks and rubber gloves when making lures and the workshop is ventilated. Kim says, “ We don't know what kind of chemicals they may be breathing.” Each lure is packaged with the logo sticker and new customers come from the recommendations of friends, family, and even their teachers bought some for Christmas gifts. Kim manages their Instagram page bayboys_lureco so customers can send a direct message to receive information or make a purchase.

Bennett and Thomas have big goals in mind. They want to buy a 3D printer to create their own molds. Bennett says” Offshore lures are the biggest and most expensive.” Already understanding business practices, they keep all of their profits and plan to put it all back into lure-making. They also hope to start a Bass Fishing Team at their school. A friend from Birmingham, on the Vestavia Fishing Team, has purchased lures and Bay Boys Lure Company is a Sponsor of their team. 

Kudos to Thomas and Bennett and especially their parents for raising such motivated, determined, and successful kids. I am thoroughly impressed and can’t wait to see how their company grows. As I was leaving their office, I noticed a Lizard lure that was wiggly and squishy, something my cat might like. They generously gave it to me and my cat played with it for most of the evening. Maybe cat toys can be their next endeavor!

Jan 10, 2024
People & Business Profiles

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