That’s All Folks!
Plastic Pete has unfortunately gone the way of the dodo bird and will no longer be able to handle the blogging duties for Mr. Chain. Plastic Pete has retired to the Sunshine State where he was lucky enough to find a home in foreclosure that was right in between the Road Runner and Wiley Coyote. (Plastic Pete was never the best decision maker).
He wishes everyone the best and can’t wait to see everyone again during the annual picnic at Crystal Mountain.
So who is the next blog writer? Well with great excitement, we are proud to introduce the ORIGINAL Mr. Chain! Mr. Chain started the company back in the 1960s and ran the company for over 40 years. He has now made the decision to return to the corporation as our feature writer.
The portrait below is a picture from his days as a World War II Ace Fighter Pilot (see our previous blog about his accomplishments).
So please say “Hello” to Mr. Chain and check back soon for his first blog!
Northern Michigan is a beautiful place all year long, but summers are really special.
There is a lot to see and do right near our Mr Chain headquarters in Manistee County, and we are less than an hour away from Sleeping Bear Dunes, along the eastern shoreline of Lake Michigan. Below is an excerpt from ABC News about our now, even more famous local attraction,
ABC: Michigan home to 'most beautiful place in America.'
ABC News' Good Morning America has named Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes the Most Beautiful Place in America.
a national contest where Good Morning America asked viewers to help them find America's most beautiful place, this 35 mile stretch of Lake Michigan coastline received tens of thousands of votes – beating out places like Aspen, Colorado; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii; Point Reyes, California and Sedona, Arizona.
In addition to the natural beauty of the area, Good Morning America featured several local businesses, including Hearth and Vine in Sutton's Bay and Cherry Republic and Crystal River Outfitters, both in Glen Arbor.
Celebrity chef Mario Batali, also weighed in on the virtues of northern Michigan.
"I spent my entire summer here at Lake Michigan because it's beautiful, because it has farmers, because it has great food artisans, it has great products, it has magnificent fresh water," Batali said in an interview with Good Morning America.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was established for its outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations, and ancient glacial phenomena. The highest dunes spike at 400 feet above the sparkling blue waters of Lake Michigan. Each year more than 1.2 million people visit this Michigan treasure.
For more information on Sleeping Bear Dunes, click here
In addition, Sleeping Bear Dunes has a sand dune for families to enjoy as some of the dunes next to Lake Michigan are quite steep. Ryan Schultz (company controller) has been known to enjoy the hill as much as his children.
So if you can, visit Sleeping Bear Dunes and feel free to stop by.
Have a great weekend,
Mr. Chain is not just about crowd control products. We are also about employees and their diverse lifestyles. Mr. Chain has several employees who enjoy riding their motorcycles and this blog is dedicated to those individuals.
Dennis Stacey is shown below on his Harley,
Dennis's Harley is styled to recall the past, the Heritage Softail® Classic is a bike for riders who want the comfort of a softail bike with the classic look of a 1930's hardtail.
We do have one more picture of Dennis, which won't make the women and children run screaming. . .
Sheila Merrill is up next on her Honda 600 Shadow. Sheila enjoys different blessing of the bikes ceremonies and was part of Thunder at the River this year. Thunder at the River promotes awareness of Michigan Veterans and POW/MIAs.
Chuck Wiltse with his new (to him) 2001 Electric Glide Classic Harley he purchased last Friday,
Chuck plans on traveling to Sturgis, North Dakota in 2012 to show off the new ride.
Last, but not least is Bobbi Bosley with her husband George sitting on a 2010 Electric Glide Classic Harley.
As you can see from the pictures, our employees have a great collection of motorcycles. But did you also notice the variety of chain and stanchions surrounding each motorcycle and rider?
We market our products to conventions of all kinds but especially to the car and bike enthusiast to protect their investments at shows. Our plated and plastic stanchion kits are lightweight so the cost of shipping is low compared to metal stanchions, and they are elegant enough to be placed around the finest show pieces.
If you would like to purchase any of the kits shown, contact our customer service department at your convenience. Please visit our website to see our complete line of chain and stanchions or check with our customer service representative.
Seeya next week,
The following is an excerpt from ABC World News, "Made in America" Series:
"We want to create and sell products all over the world that are stamped with
three simple words: 'Made in America.' That's our goal."
Those were the words of President Obama in December and they now compose the
title of a special "World News" series "Made in
America," which focuses on U.S. manufacturing, jobs and what they mean for
the nation's economy.
More than 11 million Americans get their paychecks from working in factories,
and according to Moody's Economy.com, if every American spent an extra $3.33 on
U.S.-made goods every year, it would create nearly 10,000 new jobs.
The "Made in America" series kicked off last month with the Usry family of Dallas -- Jon, Anna, Landon, Ellis and Amber.
"World News" asked them to take part in an experiment. They were asked to
empty their living room, kitchen and master bedroom of all imported products and
replace them with goods made in the United States. They were left with the
kitchen sink and a lone vase filled with hydrangeas.
Companies from all over the United States lent items for our Made in America showcase, including Viking Range Corp., which provided an oven and stove, and Harden furniture in upstate New York.
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
An American Flag blows in the wind in this... View Full
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
An American Flag blows in the wind in this Jan. 23,
2011 file photo in Chicago, Ill. This week, 'World News' kicks off its 'All-Star
series' of 'Made in America' after the 'World News' interactive map filled up
with submissions of companies that make their goods in the U.S. and with
The ABC "World News" interactive map filled up with submissions from companies
that make their goods in the United States and with American-sourced materials.
We learned during calls to various business owners, though, that it's almost
impossible to create textiles from start to finish with 100 percent U.S.-made
This week, "World News" kicks off its "All-Star series" of "Made in America,"
so please keep watching and check out our list of websites devoted to U.S. companies.
Just this month (July, 2011), Mr Chain got its own mention on the ABC World News site. The site provides an interactive US map showing American manufacturers, by state. We are proud to be included in this list, along with an impressive list of American manufacturers.
Life as a manufacturer in the United States can be quite a challenge. Complying with federal, state and local regulations; continually maintaining product quality; controlling costs, especially for raw materials and employee health insurance; offering world-class customer service - all of these seem to be issues that our foreign competitors don't have to face. Over the years, we have had to change our marketing strategies and constantly be aware that we don't play with the same rules as manufacturers outside the United States. To make up for those difficulties, we offer our products in more colors and more sizes. We have three warehouses of inventory so we can ship almost every order within one working day. We will cut chain to any length, make poles in different lengths, etc. In short, we will do whatever we can to provide better service and to differentiate ourselves from the competitors who ship entire container loads, and require several weeks lead time.
We have been lucky as a small, family owned company to have the flexibility to change quickly. While we have gone through our own hurdles, life overseas is beginning to change also.
As China’s Workers Get a Raise, Companies Fret
The article above goes into interesting detail about how our international competitors are seeing the effects of a higher standard of living within their countries and how the price of exporting to the United States is increasing. This may mean bad news for the citizens of the United States in the short term since the cost of goods will increase, but it will also mean more jobs for Americans, and, in many cases, better product quality.
The next step for an equal playing field is to have our copyright laws applied in foreign countries. As of today, our copyrights are under fire overseas. Our proprietary products, which we research and design, have been copied and produced without any possible recourse. However, that is changing too,
Gary Locke: U.S. 'Making Progress' on Trade With China
It appears as if some companies are having success suing in the overseas courts for copyright infringement. Hopefully the penalties involved in the other court cases will be great enough to defer overseas manufacturers from copying the works of others.
Nevertheless, MR CHAIN is proud to be an American manufacturer and we plan to be around for years to come no matter what the global situation brings!
God Bless America,
Well after a combined 22 different flights provided by Frontier Airlines, we made it to Las Vegas and back safe and sound, minus the lighter wallets of course. The actual convention was filled with numerous leads and fabulous booths. Our own booth looked amazing!
How about a close up of Lawn & Garden?
We had to show off our plastic chain too!
And now some face time for our wonderful employees, below is Dennis our Plant Manager and Maree the Vice-President. Also attending the show were Brian Majestic, Shirley Singletary and Ryan Schultz. I heard the three of them were working too hard to pose for a photo :)
As you can see from the pictures everyone put in a lot of time and effort to make our return to the convention a success. We have plenty of leads to contact and we are hoping all of our hard work pays off in increased sales of our lawn & garden, plastic chains and stanchions.
Time will tell! If everything goes well we plan on being back in Vegas in 2012!
Till next time,
Hello to all of our plastic chain fans,
Thank you for taking the time to read part 2 of 3 of our blogs for the convention. As mentioned before, we are attending the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, May 10th to the 12th. Our booth is located in the Lawn and Garden area. If you are attending the event, please stop by the booth and tell us how good we look :), and become our best new customer!
Now that we have the informational portion out of the way, let's take a look at our booth from Exhibit Exchange,
As you can see from the 3D sketch, the booth will have tables in the center and kiosks on the outside. The architectural drawing below shows a 2D version.
The kiosks on the outside of the booth will hold all of of our products, while our excellent customer service representatives and sales people inform attendees of the benefits of plastic chain on the inside.
Above is one of the kiosks designed for the booth. Mr. Chain will be displaying a variety of products we manufacture, along with our lawn and garden items. We will also have plastic chain, stanchions and crowd control products. We are busily assembling these items along with brochures, displays and other required elements.
We are definitely excited to showcase our hard work to everyone. Hopefully we will see you in Las Vegas!
Before we leave for the convention, we will be finishing our preparation, which for myself means countless hours of working on my blackjack strategy. I'm hoping to win enough money to get rid of these dorky glasses!
Viva Las Vegas,
Welcome to part 1 of 3 of our blog entries for our upcoming convention. After several years away, we are again attending the National Hardware Show as an exhibitor. We are excited to head to Las Vegas to showcase all of our great products. Come visit us at booth #10863 in Lawn & Garden World, where we will have plenty of exciting giveaways to present our plastic chain, stanchions and lawn & garden products. Brian Majestic, our sales manager, has been working hard on this project and has been tremendously busy preparing for the show.
But, before we look toward the future, let’s dust off the Delorean and take a step back in time.
Mr. Chain first exhibited at the National Hardware Show in New York. In the 90’s, the show moved to Chicago and we followed. The first set of pictures below highlight our different products from the time period.
The next picture is from our 1996 exhibit and shows the overall booth design. The picture also shows our plastic chain, stanchions and crowd control products.
As you can imagine booth design has changed considerably in the 21st century and in our next blog of the series we will be showing off the new booth from Exhibit Design Consultants.
Thanks for reading!
[caption id="attachment_440" align="alignright" width="300"] American Flag made from 1" plastic ring chain[/caption]
As a U.S. manufacturer, of course, we at MR CHAIN use the Made in USA as much as we can as a marketing tool. It is really a crime that so many of our core industries are gone or fading fast. Not that many years ago, our cars came from Detroit; our furniture came from North Carolina or Grand Rapids, MI; shoes were made in Massachusetts, and textiles were from South Carolina. Today, that is no longer true, and it takes a concerted effort to find American made clothing, electronics, or appliances. As a plastic injection molder, we find it a challenge ourselves to buy a US made molding machine. Eight of our 12 injection molding machines were made in Japan, and finding parts and especially service is a challenge.
So, what can be done to turn this around - or is it too late? As much as we want to be patriotic and support American workers and businesses, consumers deserve to purchase goods that are the best quality; they deserve world-class service, and competitive prices. So, as much as we want to do whatever we can as consumers to put Americans back to work, even out our balance of trade, and become more competitive in the world, the answer is not blind protectionism. As American manufacturer, we have to make the investments in technology, innovation, and people to be competitive.
We have to play on our strengths and differentiate ourselves from foreign competition. At Mr CHAIN, we have focused on three areas: goods are in stock and ready to ship; products are made only from prime materials, and we have a huge array of colors and sizes. As the costs of shipping increase, and currency rates fluctuate, we are getting much closer to being competitive on pricing also, but, in the meantime, we are concentrating on offering a better product, and wider selection, and immediate shipment. Our customers deserve no less, and while we are very proud to say "Made in America", we also know we have to back that up with superior products and performance.
Michael T. Russo was born in Cleveland, Ohio on September 4, 1920. He was attending Ohio State University when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Like many patriotic Americans, he immediately enlisted in the US Army, and requested pilot training. Russo received his primary training at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, advanced training at Randolph Field, Texas, and finally earned his wings at Moore Field, near Mission, Texas. He was then sent to Meridian, Mississippi for training in the new A-36 Invader, the dive bomber version of the P~51A Mustang. Following sixteen hours of flight time in the A-36, Russo was assigned to the 16 th Bomb Squadron (later redesignated as the 522'd Fighter-Bomber Squadron) of the 27 h Bomb Group (Light.) Flying out of North Africa, then Lt. Russo would score his first confirmed aerial victory on September 13, 1943, when his flight executed a diving attack on twelve Fw-190s which were attacking Allied shipping off the coast of Italy. In October Russo's flight attacked Ju-88s on the ground at an airfield near Rome. They were attacked by seven Bf-109s, and although his comrades downed three of the German fighters, Russo did not get one. Later that day, on a second sweep over that area, Russo downed a small biplane which unluckily came into the range of his guns. That aircraft was believed to be a Fiesler Storche 167. In December a flight of twelve A-36s were directed to the airfield at Aversano to strafe Ju-52s. Russo bagged one of the German transports after it had taken off, thereby attaining a third aerial victory. On one mission Russo strafed a column of German troops with devastating results. His crew chief surprised the young pilot by painting "Killer Russo" on the tail of his A-36. Not wanting to make himself a target for the enemy, or risk hostile treatment, if were downed in combat, Russo had the nickname removed from his aircraft. On December 30, 1943 Russo's flight of twelve A-36s was bounced by sixteen Bf-109s near Rome. In the ensuing battle, Russo downed two of the German fighters. With those two victories Russo became the only A-36 ace of the War, and the first Mustang ace. Russo participated in a number of War Bond drives in the States, and he was promoted to Captain in 1944. Mike left military service with the end of the War with 169 points.
Russo's decorations include the Silver Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster, The Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Air Medal with fourteen Oak Leaf Clusters. After his death in 2006, at the age of 85, all of these medals, his flight jacket, pilot logs, and other important memorabilia were donated to the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington where they are part of the World War II collection. Russo attributed his success with the A-36 to his engineering oriented way of thinking. He knew that the Allison engine in the A-36 would only perform at optimal levels close to sea level. At any altitude the German fighters would have far superior performance advantages. He also knew that he had to face and pursue the enemy and never turn his back, since all the guns were only in the front of the plane. Knowing the limitations of his aircraft helped save his life on a number of occasions. There were very close to 100% casualties in Russo's squadron, and the Allison powered version of the Mustang would prove a relatively unimpressive aircraft until the Merlin engine was fitted to the airframe and the P-5 1 B was born.
Russo participated in a number of War Bond drives in the States, and he was promoted to Captain in 1944. Mike left military service with the end of the War with 169 points. He established M R Products, Inc. in 1960, a family business operating under the Tradename, Mr. Chain
[caption id="attachment_419" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption=""The First Mustang Ace" by Stan Stokes"][/caption]