Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak camouflage was the brain child of Toxey Haas of West Point, Mississippi, 28-years ago. In the beginning, Mossy Oak was a start-up company with one pattern, Bottomland, but has grown into a multifaceted family of companies under the Mossy Oak brand. Why has Mossy Oak continued to grow? Why are thousands of outdoor enthusiasts joining the Mossy Oak brand? What’s in the future for Mossy Oak? To get the answers to these questions, we went to the source and the founder - Toxey Haas.
Question: Toxey, the world of Mossy Oak sprang from a camouflage pattern that you created 28 years ago called Bottomland, and there have been many patterns since then. What’s the new pattern for 2015?
Haas: Our new pattern is called Mossy Oak Break-Up Country. We feel that this new pattern is the newest and best evolution of camouflage that we've ever brought to the marketplace, and we've had a huge positive response to Mossy Oak Break-Up Country. We've seen Mossy Oak camouflage move out of the woods into a lifestyle type of clothing. We've seen people who enjoy the outdoors wearing the Mossy Oak brand of clothing everywhere they go to identify themselves as people who love the outdoors. We’re also seeing a growth in ladies and children’s wear in Mossy Oak clothing.
Also, we've seen tremendous growth in our Mossy Oak real-estate business - Mossy Oak Properties. We now have more than 80 real-estate offices in 26 states, and we've actually sold franchises to about 130 or 140 different real estate locations. Mossy Oak Properties helps our consumers find and own their own land, so they can enjoy the outdoors, become stewards of the land and practice gamekeeping. We’re also seeing growth in our tree and shrub business –Nativ Nurseries. We’re growing some of the best seedlings of any wildlife nursery in the nation. Our nurseries and the plants we grow follow the same philosophy that we preach all day, every day, “Be the best you can possibly be today.”
Before we decided to set up the Mossy Oak hunting dog breeding and training facility, we talked to Bill Gibson, a lifelong sporting and dog trainer who sets-up kennels for other people. He's developed a great line of English Labrador retrievers. I've owned some of his dogs, and we've owned dogs together. The reason we decided to build kennels and move into sporting-dog training is because everyone here at Mossy Oak loves dogs. We love to hunt with dogs, and we love to have dogs as pets and hunting companions. Once the hunting community sees and hunts with the dogs Mossy Oak breeds and trains, I feel that many people will begin to understand why the sporting-dog business fits into the overall concept of Mossy Oak. The kennels will be called Mossy Oak GameKeeper Kennels.
My favorite breed today is the English Labrador retrievers. The Labrador retriever is one of the most-popular breeds of dogs in the world, and you can get Labrador retrievers from many different kennels. We chose the English line of Labrador retrievers, because these dogs have maintained much of the hunting genetics through the years, they’ve been well disciplined, they make great pets, and they haven’t necessarily been trained for field trialing. These dogs are easy to handle, make great companions for outdoor families and have been bred purely for hunting for over 500 years. They're extremely smart and athletic, yet are very calm dogs. Although the dogs have been bred primarily for hunting waterfowl, these dogs are also trained for blood trailing and easily trained for shed hunting. Some of these dogs can even point and flush, but our first training efforts will be to breed and train these dogs to hunt waterfowl.
We hope to have the kennels up and running by early summer in 2015. We’re building a training pond, and we’ll have the kennels enclosed with a 15-acre high fence. Once our kennels are in full operation, we’ll be selling pups and trained dogs. We’re really excited about this new venture for Mossy Oak and how the hunting dog breeding and training facility fits into our overall plan of meeting the consumer’s needs and wants for outdoor recreation. We here at Mossy Oak love dogs as do thousands of others who’ve become a part of the Mossy Oak family.