Walleye Wings Inc. flagship product Walleye Wings, is a project 20 years in the making. It all started while Rob Armstrong was observing fishermen discarding a Walleye’s pectoral fins.
“I used to go through the gut buckets at night and get Pickerel cheeks. And I saw this piece ... that wasn’t appealing. (So) I bought the crumbs that were in their store and married the two of them and came up with a name in my head; Walleye Wings."
Armstrong trademarked Walleye Wings back in 2010, but due to health concerns was unable to move forward with his idea. Flash forward to 2015 Armstrong’s lifelong friend Jay Barnard had moved back to Kenora, and was working as a head chef at a prominent local restaurant. Together they discussed the forgotten Walleye Wings, and Barnard decided that it was worth testing out at his restaurant. The Walleye Wings were an instant success, and shortly thereafter Walleye Wings Inc. was born!
(Jay Barnard & Rob Armstrong. Danelle Granger Daily Miner and News)
Since the official launch in the winter of 2016, things have been moving fast. The product line has expanded well past the original Walleye Wings. With Original & Cajun crumbs, Whitefish Cakes, Pike Cakes, Bacon Wrapped Walleye Cheeks, walleye filets, and of course its flagship Walleye Wings.
The signature product line is gaining more and more traction every month. Walleye Wings Inc.’s products are now being carried at approximately twenty-five different retailers, and can be found on the menus of over fifteen restaurants within the region.
Walleye Wings Inc. success is tied to the owners’ creativity in the kitchen with freshwater fish. The industry average is to turn roughly 43% of the fish into a consumable product, while Walleye Wings Inc. is utilizing over 60% and hopes in the near future to be able to utilize nearly 100% of the fish. Barnard has big ideas, and is hoping to turn Walleye Wings Inc. into an economic success that can create jobs for the residents of Kenora and the surrounding region. Barnard has his eyes set towards bigger things and hopes to have Walleye wings Inc. products available nationally within the next year.
In January, of 2017, Walleye Wings Inc. was nominated for two of the Kenora and District Chamber of Commerce annual awards. It was nominated for 2016 Innovative Small Business of the Year, as well as the 2016 New Business Award. Armstrong and Barnard have their fingers crossed and are hoping that this is a sign of big things to come in the next year.
(Walleye Wings Inc. flagship product Walleye Wings)