The Shimano Experience Centre, arguably the most ambitious consumer-led project ever undertaken by a fishing tackle brand, was officially opened on Friday – less than four years after it was first conceived.
The opening ceremony was presided over by Taizo Shimano, Senior Executive Vice President of Shimano Inc., and Marc van Rooij, President of Shimano Europe.
In addition to fishing, the Centre brings together the Japanese company’s other interests including cycling and rowing. It will give consumers the opportunity to try out the activities, get expert advice and learn about the company’s latest technologies.
Located in Valkenburg in the Dutch province of Limburg, the site includes a fishing lake, 100-room hotel, fitness centre, product technology showcase, conference facilities and food court.
“The most important goal of the Centre is to offer all our retailers additional support for their customers when it comes to testing existing and new technologies,” said Marc van Rooij. “Here we offer the opportunity to the consumer to test our latest technologies and then to help them find their nearest Shimano retailer.”
Taizo Shimano pointed to societal mega-trends and how people are naturally gravitating more toward the convenience of bicycles and recreational pursuits like fishing and rowing in the future.
“The Experience Centre will play an important part in this challenge,” he said. “It will bring fishing, cycling and rowing closer to people and give Shimano a greater opportunity to flourish and contribute to the prosperity of the European fishing, cycling and rowing worlds.”
Angling International had an exclusive preview of the project when it visited the site in December, the report of which was featured in our January issue.
“As a brand we recognise the need to be closer to the consumer and the Experience Centre is a key mechanic in achieving that,” Shimano Project Manager Gerard Bakkenes told the magazine. “This is a first of its kind in angling.
“It will help us support and work together with our trade customers in creating a demand for our products.”