Fishing for Business in RI

An Ocean State Business Lets You Show Your Passions

With its two nearest neighbors boasting as much as more than four times the amount of coastline and many more times the number of lakes, streams and rivers, the casual observer may think that Rhode Island is easily outpaced in the number of avid sport fishermen and women. By the sheer geographic size and the weight of numbers that would probably be an accurate assessment.  But when it comes to enthusiasm that borders on mania, Rhode Islanders can stand shoulder to shoulder with the most avid piscatorial enthusiasts.

Whether the preference is for striped bass, bluefish, fluke, winter flounder, cod, porgies, or blackfish and more, Rhode Island is host to some of the finest salt water fishing in the Northeast.  Not to be outdone, there are plenty of freshwater fish too, including the highly prized largemouth and smallmouth bass.  So, it’s not only appropriate for fishing to be popular in The Ocean State, but as most fishermen would attest, the state’s own motto, “Hope,” is perpetually reflected in every cast they make.

For one Rhode Island man whose continuing passion has been fishing since he was a boy, the pastime has led to a truly unique business.

“I used to drive all over the coastline looking for the best places to catch fish,” said Rick Gauntlett, founder and president of Grillie, a Barrington, R.I.-based company that designs and sells beautiful auto grille ornaments.  Gauntlett said he traveled to many fishing tournaments, as well, both within the state borders and far beyond.  “Fishing is one of my biggest passions and I’ve been known to travel very long distances to fish great spots,” explained Gauntlett.

Although fishing was always challenging and fun, Gauntlett said his travels and hobbies like fishing also had a direct impact on the shape of his latest business venture.  While going to events, he was always intrigued about the interests of his fellow fishermen and others that appeared on their cars and trucks.  Eventually, that curiosity helped spark the inspiration for his company, Grillie.

Gauntlett’s stepfather had a hobby business, importing and selling antique hood ornaments from the UK.  Before his stepfather died, he asked Gauntlett to take over his hobby business. Agreeing to consider it, after a few weeks, he began to be intrigued by the challenge and the potential for turning the business around.  Clearly, Gauntlett likes challenges and this one had possibilities.

America’s ongoing love affair with cars offered a sizeable market.  Gauntlett was attracted by that larger opportunity rather than the narrow appeal of ornate and expensive hood ornaments from a bygone era.  Instead, he turned his focus from the hood to the grille, where traditional mileage badges were displayed along with car club emblems half a century ago.  Today, many of those grille badges are collector’s items.

Adding a modern twist to the personal imprint most car owners want with their vehicles, Gauntlett decided to develop affordable grille ornaments that would enable drivers to display their passions right up front.  And so, Grillie, the trend-setting maker of beautiful auto grille ornaments available at, was born.  But Rick’s sights were set on a larger share of the market than just the collectable hood ornaments that appealed to his stepfather’s clientele.  With 254 million registered motor vehicles in the U.S., the potential market for his company’s grille ornaments is huge.

From the start, Rick’s concept was to make distinctive grille ornaments that show off each owner’s passion in an elegant and attractive way.  To achieve this, he turned to one of America’s finest institutions for visual arts, the renowned Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.  There, he found skilled designers and artisans who could take his ideas and turn them into miniature works of art.  The designs they produced became a collection of genuine masterpieces with something in it that virtually any car or truck owner would proudly display.

The artisans craft each Grillie grille ornament in a highly detailed design that brings out its individual, distinctive character.  Cast in solid metal, Grillies have a protective finish and are highly polished to enhance each design’s details.

“Whatever the car owner is passionate about, we probably have a Grillie that accurately reflects their interest,” said Gauntlett.  He said Grillies include hobbies, golf, seashore, dogs and cats, shopping, patriotism, southwestern, occupations, equestrian sports, religious, sportsman/wildlife, and others.  There’s a Grillie in the company’s collection that will appeal to virtually everyone.  From the lighthouse, to the cowboy boots, and the collie to the striped bass, there is truly something that will appeal to just about every driver.

Grillies make especially great gifts for friends, colleagues, relatives and just about anyone who owns a car.  When they receive a Grillie, they are getting a gift that acknowledges and honors their personal passion.  Grillies are truly appreciated and are enduring gifts that are always out in front, reflecting the individual’s interest.   Priced at only $49.99, they are the perfect personalized gift.

Pointing out that for most cars and trucks it’s easy to install Grillies, Gauntlett said it takes only a few minutes, no special tools are needed and everything the car owner needs is probably in their toolbox.   Complete installation instructions are available on the company’s website.  “There’s an installation video that shows just how easy installing a Grillie can be,” said Gauntlett.

For the fast-growing list of Grillie customers, it’s all about being up front and putting your passion forward.  “When you are proud to be passionate about something, why not flaunt it?” said Gauntlett.  There are always new Grillie’s on the drawing board and new fish to fry for this enterprising entrepreneur fisherman.

Readers interested in learning more about Grillie should visit


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