New Chesco crossbow company aims for success
Published: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 by Tom Tatum
Photo courtesy of Kodabow Crossbows Kodabow Crossbows president Chuck Matasic, left, poses with chief financial officer Brad Griste with one of their products.
A few years back, Keystone State license plates touted the logo, 'You've got a friend in Pennsylvania.' Now you might say that deer hunters and horizontal archery fans have an even better friend right here in Chester County, where the newly established company, Kodabow Crossbows, recently set up shop.
Kodabow is the brainchild of company President Chuck Matasic who points out that the word "koda" comes from the Native American word meaning "friend." "We wanted to design a crossbow that a shooter or hunter could regard as a friend," says Matasic, age 56. "Our goal was to produce a crossbow that was as user friendly as possible, and I believe we've succeeded."Matasic, who lives in East Goshen and has been an avid archer and bowhunter for most of his life, worked in the chemical industry for a long time followed by time running a firearms company where he discovered other opportunities in the outdoor industry. This eventually led to the founding of Kodabow about seven months ago with the help of Chief Financial Officer Brad Griste of West Chester. Griste, 46, and Matasic had previously worked together for seven years. "Over the last year, we went full bore with setting up manufacturing - the bows are pretty much all built in Chester and Lancaster County. We went to the Shot Show in Las Vegas to introduce our product and get reaction which was all very positive."
Matasic is passionate about the fact that his crossbows are 100 percent made in the United States with about 90 percent of the parts being manufactured in Pennsylvania. "In outsourcing parts we know all our suppliers by their first names," he said.When asked how his fledgling company expects to compete with the long established major players in the crossbow industry like Horton, Ten Point, and Excalibur, Matasic expresses an intensity and confidence that Kodabow will find its niche, propelled, in part, by his product's user friendly features."There's a lot of quality and engineering that goes into this bow," he said. "We made the power stroke (cocking distance) just 13 3/8 inches long, which is a relatively short cocking distance, on all four of our models."The four models are distinguished by their relative draw weights of 155, 185, 200, and 225 pounds respectively, and are capable of launching arrows at speeds up to 350 feet per second.Other user friendly or "Koda" features of the bow include an adjustable stock, a selection of different forearm grip options, an ergonomic, ambidextrous safety located on both sides of the bow, sling slots for attaching an easy-carry sling, a simple string-changing device, and an anti-dry fire mechanism."We believe all of these unique features will enhance the confidence level of our customers," Matasic said. "When we started out we asked ourselves this question: Can we make a crossbow with the quality of a finely made firearm that would appeal to a first time crossbow buyer but also attract the veteran crossbow user with more discriminating tastes? With our product line, we believe we have succeeded in doing just that."Other selling features of Kodabow's 8.3 pound crossbow (without optics) include the forearm's weaver rail system that adjusts to fit every individual, 20-inch flat nock bolts (arrows), aerospace level machining, high tech laminated fiberglass recurve limbs, and an advanced trigger system."Triggers are the key to accuracy and our trigger is among the most precise on the market right now," Matasic said.
While visiting the company's Assembly and Distribution Center right here in West Chester (corporate headquarters are in Lancaster County), I had the chance to test fire one of Kodabow's crossbows. Most impressive, beyond the warp speed, low noise, and accuracy with which this state-of-the-art sporting arm spits out arrows, is its excellent balance and crisp, comfortable trigger pull.The company is in the process of setting up a dealer network (which will include Targetmaster on Rt. 202) for their bows which are priced to sell at around $900. Accessories include optics, slings, quivers, cocking strings, bolts, de-stringing aids, and more. "Dealer response has been excellent," Matasic said. "We'll start shipping bows next week and expect to be ramping up for the upcoming fall hunting seasons."Matasic, who graduated high school in Virginia, is a United States Naval Academy alum, class of 1975, and the proud father of three sons, the youngest of whom began his own career at the Naval Academy this summer. Matasic's pride in his new crossbow products is also palpable."We're betting that when a person picks this bow up, he or she will recognize the inherent quality and value. It's really built to last forever," he said. "We expect some people to buy it because it's an easy transition from a firearm to this equally well-machined crossbow. Some people will buy it just because it's pretty cool."To find out more about Kodabow products call 610-620-4352 or check their website at http://www.kodabow.com/.