Jim decided to try Taxidermy again in 1982. He got involved in the Ohio Taxidermy Associations (OTTR) right away as a learning tool; taking his mounts to competitions for judging. Jim has won awards in all phases of Taxidermy. He was on The Board of Directors for OTTR, then became Secretary/Treasurer, then President. Pat, Jim's wife, took over Sec/Treas for the Association and wrote the OTTR Newsletter for some time.
He's come a long way in 30 years.
HERE'S HIS STORY...
I tried out taxidermy as a teenager (about 13 yrs old), but it got put aside for other interests. About 20 years later I caught a 27" Walleye and wanted it mounted and the wife said no. She had never seen good taxidermy, so she could only invison an icky old fish on the wall. I looked up the company I had gotten information from in my teens; and low & behold, 20 yrs later, they sent me the exact same literature(?). I knew that in 20 years taxidermy had to have come a long way and evolved. Digging a little deeper, found a company called John Rinehart Taxidermy Supply & School out of Wisconsin, who sold a home course. Now this was way before VHS, CD's, etc. I received a picture film tape and a film machine to run it on, along with a cassette tape. I put the film in the little machine, turned the cassette on and listened. When the message beeped, I went to the next picture in the film machine.
I contacted several local Charter Captain friends and asked for some extra Bass & Walleye to practice. When I finished with a few fish, I'd call my buddies over to critique the work. In the mean time, Pat got information on some taxidermy organizations and together we started taking my mounts to the Ohio conventions for OTTR (Ohio Taxidermy Trade Register) for judging. Between the 2 of us, we'd catch all the different seminars on taxidermy mounting. Pat would take notes for me from one seminar while I was sitting in another.
My business and clientele grew rapidly, even though we lived on a deadend subdivision road, that did not allow any business signs in the neighborhood. 3 years after starting taxidermy, I went full time. I had taken over our 2 1/2 car garage already, then our family room, as a showroom. And finally, Pat turned our oldest childs room into as office, when she moved out. We utilized lots of space in our home for business besides this space.
We both got very involved in the State Association. First I became a board member with Pat coming along for the ride to the Delaware, OH meetings. Then I became the Secretary/Treasurer and Pat did the OTTR News Letter. Finally I became President & Pat became Secretary/Treasurer and news letter editor of OTTR.
I worked very hard on improving the quality of my mounts while trying to come up with ways to stream line the work. I took lots of ribbons at the shows for years, but started realizing one thing, as I would later tell other taxidermist at seminars (I started giving at the conventions) ....."You can't pay the mortgage with ribbons nor eat ribbons". I tried teaching the taxidermist, besides putting out a quality mount, you needed to do it in a timely manner to actually make money at it.
Well here I am 30 years later. We moved the business out of the house in 1993. Added a huge walk-in freezer a few years after that, getting rid of the line of chest freezers I had accumulated. I was to the point, that I would ask my local customers to keep their mount in their freezer till I was ready for it. And was borrowing freezer space from a couple friends too. The walk-in freezer made it more economical, electricity-wise and much easier to organize the mounts.
Just after 2000, we knew we needed to do something. At that time I had 4 other employees besides myself. and we were stepping over each other in the shop. That was when I started looking at Log Cabins. The 1,500 sq.ft. Log Cabin opened in 2003. We attached it to the front of the existing 3,000 sq ft facility.
- Street: 2133 E Harbor Rd
- Postcode: 43452
- City: Port Clinton
- State: Ohio
- Country: United States
- Telephone: 1-866-JIMS-TAX (546-7829)