Vojtěch Pelíšek, owner of the company Pellwood, which produces drumsticks, June 16, 2023, Čestice.
Strakonice – The South Bohemian company Pellwood, which manufactures drumsticks, returned to pre-covid numbers last year. Sales were in the millions, sales are growing in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, there by tens of percent. Russell Gilbrook from the band Uriah Heep, drummers from the bands Queenie, Ready Kirken, Monkey Business and Plexis play with drumsticks from Čestic na Strakonick. The company produces 40,000 pairs of drumsticks annually, its owner Vojtěch Pelíšek told journalists today. Drumsticks from Šumava were also used by the American group Guns N'Roses.
“The covid period was difficult. The self-employed person has the advantage of being able to tighten his belt. However, I have two employees, I managed to keep so many stores that I did not have to lay off. But I had to dissolve some family savings. One market did not work at all for three years, Great Britain , where we exported 30 percent before covid and Brexit. Now we managed to restore it to the original value. Deferred consumption worked, after covid there was a hunger for concerts, so drummers began to have a greater need for mallets. The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland are growing significantly, where a large e-shop and growing by tens of percent annually,” said Pelíšek, who will celebrate his 40th birthday this year. He mostly sells cheaper sticks to Poland.
They export sticks to 29 countries. The main markets are Finland, Poland, Great Britain, Benelux, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Austria. It supplies many so-called marching mallets to the Benelux. “Military bands have a great tradition there. Now we produced a limited series for them from rare Philippine wood, from ramin, which is no longer allowed to be mined. We managed to buy the last car of this rare wood that was still in Europe. Now it can't be found anywhere ,” said Pelíšek, a mechanical engineer trained at CTU, father of four children. Last year, after four years, the price increased by about 15 to 20 percent, mallets cost CZK 150 or CZK 220, depending on the type of wood.
Jiří Zelenka, who plays with the Ebeny brothers and accompanied Vladimír Mišík for years, also drums with Strakonic drumsticks. Gilbrook from Uriah Heep is popular. “He played with world-famous brands and used an average of three pairs of mallets per gig. He plays very hard. When I talk to him, he says to me, 'I don't understand how you do it, but I have one pair of mallets from you per gig, and they don't break. . I'm throwing them out and getting a new pair for a new gig just on a whim'. He says these drumsticks are out of this world because they'll last his two-hour concert with Uriah Heep,” said Pelíšek.
A company with two employees produces 60 types of mallets and whisks. It uses two types of wood, hornbeam and American walnut hickory. “Habr manages to achieve the necessary growth only in the lowlands, mixed forests, southern Moravia or the surroundings of Chlumec nad Cidlinou are suitable,” said Pelíšek. Habr buys four-meter boards, which he processes into a prism. American walnut is kinder to hands and drums, he said. But this wood is more expensive, Pellwood buys it dried in planed boards. “It is possible to play with hornbeam to a certain extent, but hickory wood is mainly used in the world, which is strong and behaves like a nylon rod,” said Pelíšek. He previously worked as a manager at Bosch or Rohde & Schwarz.
The company was founded by his father Ivan Pelíšek, the veteran drummer of the band Abraxas, in 1990. He had been making mallets since 1969, when he was 15 years old. As a boy, he made a lathe on the porch, the engine was made from a washing machine, the other parts were made of wood. It follows from the information on the website. Vojtěch Pelíšek, also a drummer, helped his father handle orders as a boy, went with him to fairs. He bought the company from him in 2018.