The name Normark Africa on the exhibitor boards at the SAFTAD trade show may confuse some visitors … until they get to the usual spot occupied by Rapala VMC and see all the familiar faces and brands. During this past year Rapala VMC SA changed its name to Normark Africa – but all the familiar brands and products will be there, says director Mark Pledger.

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Mark Pledger (left) demonstrating a firearm component at Huntex. Photo: Huntex.

The name change became necessary after they acquired quite a few sport shooting brands a few years ago – a section of the market that has experienced tremendous growth. Social media sites, however, have very strict policies regarding firearms and they became concerned that if the firearm photos are blocked on their Rapala page, they might lose some of their more than 500 000 fans, adds Mark, who is primarily responsible for this outdoor section of the business. They decided on the Normark name because it was the name of the first Rapala distributor in the US – reflecting the brand’s Nordic (Finnish) heritage.

The new name for the company supplying fishing and firearms equipment is more neutral – with Rapala VMC SA representing one division, managed by Grant Pledger.

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SAFTAD chairman John Pledger with his sons Grant and Mark.

The annual SAFTAD fishing tackle trade show will this year take place 17 and 18 August at the UNISA Training Centre in Ormonde, Johannesburg.