These are sooooo good! Linda Frees, our Shipping manager, makes these every year at Christmas, and they are addictive!
1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter (not margarine)
Mix all together with pastry blender. Set aside one cup. Press the remaining crumb mixture into a 9"x13" unbuttered pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
1 bag caramels (about 50)
5 TBL. milk
Melt caramels and milk together in microwave for 1-2 minutes until mostly melted. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn. Remove and stir until smooth.
When crust is done, pour the caramel filling on top, spreading out to almost the edges of pan. Then sprinkle on 1 cup Nestle butterscotch pieces; 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1 cup reserved crumb mixture.
Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes. Remove and score into 1" bars. After cookies are cool, cut and enjoy.
(May substitute another type of chopped nuts or another flavor of chips.)
HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM MR CHAIN!
Halloween is big business, and getting bigger every year. Spending on Halloween decorating is second only to Christmas. And, as far as celebrations go, celebrations for Halloween rank second or third in the U.S., depending on who is counting, only to New Year's Eve and Super Bowl Sunday.
In 2009, the National Retail Federation (NRF)http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=Dashboard&id=54
reported that Americans spent $66.54 per person on Halloween in 2008. The survey also reported that 62.1% of those surveyed will take part in some sort of Halloween activities, including wearing a costume (33.4%), carving a pumpkin (42.4%), going to a party (30.2%), giving out candy (71.2%), decorating a home or yard (47.3%), or trick or treating (31.8%).
For this season, MR CHAIN got into the act of of Halloween decorating. We supplied all Menards stores with sections of our black, wrought iron edging, to complement some of the many other Halloween items that Menards provides. Here is a photo of our "graveyard" fencing, coupled with a few of Menards other ghoulish items:
For next year, we want to add our Holiday lighting kits to our Halloween decorating items:
These kits can also be used for Christmas lighting, and they are quick and easy to use. Just slide any string of lights into the posts and insert the posts into the ground.HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
After a long time planning and building, MR CHAIN is happily settling into our new offices.
In order to consolidate our operations in one place, M R Products has built new corporate offices inside the footprint of our factory. It was a challenge to fit everything we needed inside our existing building, but with the help of Fred Campbell of JML Design Group, LTD of Traverse City, we were able to come up with a plan to fit six offices, a conference room, lunchroom, two restrooms, copy room, and mechanical room - all within our existing facility. This also meant we had to relocate our old quality control and maintenance areas to other parts of the factory.
The actual construction began in June and ended in September. Robert T. Cole of Cadillac, MI was our General Contractor.
Besides saving on rent, the move also allows us to have all our employees in one place, which is much more efficient, allows better direct communication, and should allow us all to focus on what we like to do best at M R Products - produce quality plastic chain, plastic stanchions, and lawn and garden products for our industrial and retail customers.
Now that we are more or less settled in our new offices, we'd like to introduce two new key people in Copemish.
Ryan Schultz is our new Controller, although he has taken on responsibilities for all kinds of areas, including updates to our web site, human resource administration, computers, telephones, etc., etc. Ryan is a student at Baker College in Cadillac, studying Business Administration, with a focus on accounting. He must be a pretty good student, since the College has already asked him to teach. Ryan likes to hunt (and do all the outdoor-sy things people do in Northern Michigan). In his spare time, he is also the Treasurer for the Friends of the Cadillac, MI Public Library, and has coached hockey for 11 and 12 year old boys and girls.
Shirley Singletary is our new Customer Service Associate. Shirley had extensive service in Customer Service from a previous job in Traverse City. She has great skills in numerous software programs, including computer graphics, and has been busy learning our products and developing all new printed marketing material. She is working with outside printers and photographers, and recently accompanied the photographer to a photo shoot in the local cemetery to take pictures of MR CHAIN's black "wrought iron look" plastic chainfor a Halloween project. Shirley is very organized, and detail-oriented, and she has a very pleasant, professional manner on the phone. Shirley has also worked in the medical field, and is certified in CPR. She has a pretty diverse background, and wanted us to know, that she is even certified to drive our fork lift. Shirley lives in Copemish with her 19 - YES, that is right, 19! cats.
The word "plastic" comes from the Greek, "plastikos". It means to be shaped or molded. Plastic is the most used material in the world.
One of the best things about plastic is that it lasts a long, long time, and that is why there are so many uses for it. Unfortunately, this also means that it takes a very long time, sometimes hundred of years, for plastic to decompose, so it can create a serious environmental concern.
At MR CHAIN, we make products that last for many years, but when the time has come to dispose of one of our MR CHAIN plastic products, we want to make it easy for our customers to RECYCLE.
Recycling is simply a way to turn old products into new ones. At MR CHAIN, we use prime quality high density polyethylene, and it is totally recyclable. In a way, we have our own internal recycling program since any waste material we produce in or manufacturing process is simply ground up into plastic pellets and used again. We even sell any floor sweepings so nothing goes to waste.
Synthetic resins are used to make plastic and most resins are produced from petroleum. Although there are hundreds of different plastics, they are belong to two basic types - thermosets and thermoplastics. Thermoplastics, from which all our MR CHAIN products are produced, can be melted and reformed many times- their polymer chains allow this to happen.
In order to encourage our customers to recycle our products, at MR CHAIN we include the recycling symbol on the base of each of our plastic stanchions. Here is the recycling symbol for our products -
When you see this symbol, this means you can definitely recycle this product. Most Americans have access to recycling programs. Recycling conserves resources, energy and space in landfills - it is also a big business. There are more than 1,600 businesses in the US alone that recycle post-consumer plastics.
So, please, when your MR CHAIN plastic chain or plastic stanchions finally get old and tired, recycle them, and then come back for some new ones.
Among their many other talents, some of the employees at M R Products, Inc. in Copemish, MI, happen to be great cooks. One of our long-time employees in the Shipping Department, Sheila Merrill not only cooks, she also maintains an extensive garden, and cans a lot of her own produce. She makes terrific salsa, but today, we wanted to publish a favorite recipe for all of us at MR CHAIN - Sheila's oven made caramel corn.
5 qts. popped corn
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Place popped corn in oven at 250 degrees to keep warm and crisp. Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt. Boil to soft ball stage. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Syrup will foam. Pour syrup over popped corn, mix well, and return to oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes. Cool and serve.
This is really delicious, and very popular with all of us at M R Products/MR CHAIN. Enjoy!
Because I was around since the beginning, I thought it might be interesting to record my memories of how things were back in 1960, when my dad, Michael T. Russo, founded M R products, Inc. I was 12 years old, and I remember that we all pitched in to help, whether it was cleaning the offices or typing invoices. Until then, my dad had been selling extracts for beverages, and he traveled quite a bit. It was his dream to have his own business, and, because he was in the beverage business, he came up with a new product idea for a plastic reseal cap. He applied for and was granted a patent. Since back then, most soda came in 16 oz. glass bottles, these reseal caps were perfect to keep the carbonation in the bottle. The cap could also show some advertising, so Pepsi liked it, and gave my dad $12,000 for the patent. I remember that my mother, sister and I were excited since my dad got to meet Joan Crawford, who was Vice Chairman of PepsiCo at that time.
With that small amount of capital, my father bought one injection molding machine and rented some space in a factory in Madison Heights, MI. He would put on old clothes to work at the factory and make parts, and then change into a suit and tie to try to sell them. Back in the early '60s, plastic engineering and manufacturing was very new, and he had to experiment with all kinds of materials to find the best material for a particular part. I remember once, when he was mixing materials and trying to purge them with a plunger, he burned off one of his eyebrows with a nylon material! No one had a degree in plastics engineering back then, but my dad did study engineering at Ohio State, and he had an inventive mind. He was always curious about how things worked, and once came up with an idea for locking a stanchion by studying a medical catheter.
In the early years, M R Products, Inc. was a supplier to General Motors, Chrysler, and Stanley Door, but it was his dream to make his own proprietary products. Over the course of the first ten years in business, he applied for almost 100 patents, and was granted at least 27. These patents included several designs for plastic posts, a greenhouse, flower pots, and an entire line of safety and crowd control products. By the middle 1980's, the product line included 3 styles and nine sizes of plastic chain, plus matching S-hooks, C-hooks, connecting links, O-rings, plastic clips, and masterlinks.
By 1970,MR Products, Inc. owned two manufacturing plants - one on Larchwood Road in Troy, MI, and the other in the Village of Copemish, MI. Around that time, the Company started using the trade name, "MR CHAIN". By 1975, the Company ceased molding parts for anyone else, and made only proprietary products. The Company grew and became a supplier of safety and crowd control products for industrial and retail markets. At one time , there were a couple of other U.S. suppliers for plastic chain, but gradually other manufacturing moved offshore, and MR CHAIN has been the only U.S. supplier for plastic chain now for several years.
Over the years, Michael Russo continued to invent new items and invent new products. His last patent was issued in 1997 and was for a plastic clip that we still sell as our "MR Clip". See patent information here. http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/5653004/claims.html
Although, my dad passed away in 2006 at the age of 85, he never stopped working and thinking about new inventions. His family is continuing his legacy.
In addition to being a former UFC Champion, "Rampage" landed the role of B.A. Baracus in The A-Team movie which is due to be released in June 2010. Unlike Mr T., the original B.A. Baracus in The A-Team 1980’s TV series, Rampage will not be donning an excessive amount of gold chains in his portrayal of the role.
Even though Rampage is pursuing his movie career, he is by no means done with the UFC. He is scheduled to return to the UFC ring on May 29
Maybe he will be sporting his Mr. Chain chain when he returns to the ring this year to finally face down the long standing feud with his arch nemesis, Rashad Evans.
[caption id="attachment_251" align="alignright" width="210"] Quinton "Rampage" Jackson[/caption]
We are known for our chains and stanchions for use in crowd control, school safety and so on, however, on occasion our products are utilized in other ways. Take Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Former UFC Lightweight Champion for example. He sports a Mr. Chain chain as a necklace.
As with any product, one challenge we have when selling plastic chain is that most customers are more used to buying metal chain. So, it seemed to be worth it to add a post about the pros and cons of plastic chain vs. metal chain.
If it is vitally important that the chain holds a lot of weight, by all means, use metal chain. While we love to sell our plastic chain, no one at Mr Chain wants to be responsible if a car falls off a trailer, or a child's swing falls down.
But, if it is more important to mark off an area for crowd control, here are a few reasons why plastic chain is actually a lot better than metal chain.
Plastic chain is more visible. And, since the plastic chain from MR CHAIN comes in 15 standard colors, including bright yellow, safety orange, safety green, and several florescent colors, there is no question that plastic chain is much more visible, especially at night.
Metal chain rusts and plastic chain never does - enough said about that.
Metal chain will damage vehicles, as you know if you ever drove into it. Protect your investment in snow plows or other maintenance vehicles, and avoid angry customers by making sure their vehicles are unharmed. You will definitely know you hit something if you drive into plastic chain, but you won't hurt your car, or yourself either.
Plastic chain can be easily repaired. Use one of Mr Chain's master links, all made to perfectly match our plastic chain, and you will never even see where there was a break.
Plastic chain is light and easily placed in no time at all. It can be set up for temporary use - to set aside an area for a day - or set up on a permanent basis. All our plastic chain at Mr Chain is UV treated to retard fading, so it is perfect for outdoor use.
Add to that, all our plastic chain from MR CHAIN is Made in the USA and we have been making it here for over 40 years. It seems by now, everyone would know that plastic chain can be the superior choice for so many applications, but we are happy to explain all this since we love to talk about our plastic chain.
On the first weekend in August, the Village of Copemish, MI, celebrates Heritage Days. This year, the weather was perfect all three days, and there were lots of fun-filled events, including a strawberry social, firetruck and pony rides, a 5k run, loads of events for kids, music, and fun. Since it is our 50th anniversary, M R Products was asked to be the Grand Marshal in the parade on Saturday. We used our own products -plastic chain and plastic stanchions, flower pots and deck tables - to decorate the float.
On Friday night, M R Products sponsored the Joel Tacey show. Joel made lots of balloon animals for the younger kids, and then performed a magic show for young and old alike. His show was followed by the Scotville Clown Band who have performed at Heritage Days for several years now.
Next year, we will try to get the entire Russo family here on the first week in August to enjoy the Copemish Heritage Days, and ride on the M R Products float.