TYLER, Texas — When it comes to lures, chances are you’ve got a lure in your tacklebox that comes from one of the oldest plastic worm companies in the world and you know what, it’s located right here in Tyler.
Crème Lures makes lures in Tyler and sells them all over the country. Crème Lures is a family business. Chris Kent and his wife Anne run the business today, but let’s go back to where it all began.
Crème Lures started in Ohio in 1949. Husband and wife Nick and Cosma Crème made plastic worms because they were tired of digging up earth worms. Gostwick’s Bait and Tackle in Tyler sold those worms but ran out.
Wayne Kent, Chris’s dad, worked at Gostwick’s and overheard a telephone call between Milton Gostwick and Cosma Creme that changed everything.
Chris Kent is the boss at Creme Lure. His dad Wayne ran the company until the late '80s.
Chris Kent told us the story of how Creme came to Tyler and it involves his dad overhearing a phone call between Milton Gostwick and Cosma Creme.
Gostwick asked Cosma if she liked roses. Cosma said, "Yeah, I like 'em". So Gostwick sent a dozen roses up to Cosma and two weeks later Gostwick got a huge shipment of baits and that started it here in Tyler with Crème Worm. A few years later, Creme would move the center of its operations and open a plant in Tyler.
While this was happening, Wayne Kent made his own plastic lures in his garage. Wayne teamed up with wife Judy and opened Knight Manufacturing in 1965.
“Every Friday they would make fishing lures," Kent said. "Dad would sell ‘em on Saturday. They would go out, eat dinner, go to a movie, whatever they could afford."
Wayne and Judy opened Knight Manufacturing and invented the Tube Worm. Two families with successful lure companies talked about a merger and it finally happened in the late 1980s. The Kent family took ownership but kept the Crème name.
But Creme Lure remains a family business. At one point, four generations worked at the plant and in the front office.
Wayne Kent lead the company for many years. Chris Kent came on board in 1996 when Wayne Kent was diagnosed with cancer. He was given 18 months but went on to live for 25 years. He passed away last year.
The plant is still the same, but the lures are made faster. Automation replaced these hand-made molds. And the stories Wayne Kent told his son are still the same but these days, Kent has a deeper appreciation.
"Dad told me, yeah this guy was in the store that he knew and he said, hey smell that, That’s that smell like? Watermelon. That’s that smell like? Strawberry, Dad goes, man I didn’t know all this, Bass were getting up on the bank, eating watermelon and strawberries," Chris Kent said.
Creme Lures is looking toward the future by laser printing logos or pictures on some of the plastic lures - a great way to remember your biggest fish with your lucky plastic worm.