AUBURN - When Tim Tucker started making storage units for canoes and kayaks under the brand name Talic, it was essentially a hobby.
Ten years later, that hobby has become a career in the form of a mom-and-pop manufacturing business run by Tucker and his wife, Jeannie.
The two of them have finalized a move from Rochester to a building off York Street in Auburn, where local business and government leaders gathered Monday to celebrate the new location.
“Tim had dreamed of owning a bigger, more efficient shop,” said Jeannie, an Auburn resident who worked at Seymour Library for 20 years.
Through Talic, the Tuckers make wooden racks, slings and other holders for canoes and kayaks. Products vary from lightweight units that hold oars or single crafts to large stands that hold seven boats.
The company distributes its merchandise through almost 200 retailers around the country, as well as on its Web site, www.talic.com. They've sold units to customers in Europe, Australia and the Middle East.
One of Talic's newest line is the Finger Lakes series, which offers racks named after Owasco and Cayuga lakes.
The Tuckers run Talic on their own, though they hired a part-time employee this week. They would like to have a couple more on staff before the end of the year.
Tim created the company in 2000 while working in the advertising industry as a graphic artist, but focused on Talic full time after much of the freelance work in the area dried up. When the two of them met and Jeannie started helping him with the business, she fell in love with the work, she said.
They have commuted from Auburn to the former location in Rochester for 18 months while looking for a larger space. Formerly the home of Harry's Tires, the new 21,000 square-foot shop allows them to produce their products at a higher rate.
“It was a long process,” Tim said of finding the right location.
During that process, the Tuckers approached Auburn planning officials for any possible guidance in finding a new space. The city planning department introduced them to representatives from the National Development Council, which helps administer an economic development tool called the Grow Auburn Fund.
The fund, part of the nationwide Grow America Fund, is used for job creation, community investment, affordable housing and small business development. According to a release from the National Development Council, the Grow Auburn Fund has extended more than $3.3 million in loans to nine businesses.
The fund eventually provided some of the needed financing for the Talic relocation.
Because of the Internet and shipping services, the Tuckers can run the business from just about anywhere. But Jeannie said Auburn is a great spot because she already has a network of friends and family, and it's a relatively inexpensive location.
“It doesn't matter where we're located, but it also makes sense that we're located so near the (Finger Lakes),” she said.
Between 20 and 30 people visited their shop Monday for an open house and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. During the ceremony, local leaders praised the Tuckers for their drive and creativity.
Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce Director Andrew Fish called Talic an example of entrepreneurial spirit.
“You take this idea ... and develop it into a product that fits a consumer need,” Fish said.
Staff writer Christopher Caskey can be reached at 253-5311 ext. 282 or email@example.com.