In 1972, Dan Chase opened Dan Chase Taxidermy in Central where it operated under that name until 2008. Jeff Martin began working for Dan Chase Taxidermy while he attended Central High School. After graduation, Martin started full time and eventually bought the company from Dan Chase in 2008, and then changed the name to Second 2 Nature Taxidermy Supply. “This is the only thing I have ever done in my life and I’ve never had a desire to do anything else,” Martin said.
In a cluster of warehouses down Blackwater Road, Second 2 Nature manufactures and sells taxidermy supplies to customers all over the United States and throughout seven foreign countries. Their biggest customers are Texas and Pennsylvania. All orders are completed through catalog sales and trade shows. “You call us, and we send it out the same day,” Martin said. Their shipping company is UPS. Second 2 Nature sells eighty percent of their inventory through October and February. The remainder of the year is spent restocking inventory. Their most popular item is the white tailed deer.
On a daily basis, the manufacturing team and shipping employees fill work orders for countless mannequins. “Everything that we make here has to have a mold,” Martin said. Gallon sized bags of urethane are poured into the metal molds, and the urethane, a synthetic crystalline compound, rises and hardens to form the mold. The entire process takes about 45 minutes. When defects occur, Martin offers the mannequins to local customers for half price.
In its 8th year of business, Second 2 Nature remains strong and continues to grow annually. Though day-to-day workings have not changed much since the days of Dan Chase, manufacturing has evolved and the supplies for the mannequins have improved. “We’ve been out there long enough now that we’re pretty well known in the taxidermy industry,” Martin said, “I would like to do more, but it all depends on the economy. I hope to see it do a lot better so that’s we’re able to expand.”
Second 2 Nature Taxidermy Supply employs approximately 30 people. “Pretty much everybody who works here went to Central <High School>,” Martin said, “Most of the folks working here live in Central.” Martin expressed immense satisfaction with the community. “The community itself has been a great community to live in and work in,” he said, “It’s been rewarding to watch some of the folks that have worked for me over the years <who> have grown up in the company…to watch them go on and do for themselves… to grow up and have families.”
For nineteen years, the Martins have lived in a house right next to the company, which allowed his family to remain close despite working hours. “When they got home from school everyday,” Martin said of his kids, “They’d come see me.” Though Martin was not related to Dan Chase, he values his family and would like his children to take over when he retires. He has two daughters attending Louisiana State University, both of whom are avid hunters. He hopes for their involvement after graduation. He also hopes to one day involve his nine year old son, Cole. “He eats, dreams and sleeps this business. He goes with me to every trade show that we can go to that he can attend. I really hope to pass it down to my daughter or my son.”