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BBM eNews

Jan13 Mainhead


By Harrell Kerkhoff, Broom, Brush & Mop Magazine Editor

 

New and improved products from around the world were once again showcased at Chicago’s McCormick Place during the International Home & Housewares Show. This included various types of brushes, brooms, mops, squeegees, sponges and related cleaning wares.

 

Representatives from four companies that took part in the 2013 edition of this annual event, held March 2-5, were interviewed by Broom, Brush & Mop Magazine. They discussed many of their product introductions and innovations intended to meet today’s demands placed by various retail customers as well as end-user consumers.

 

Walt Dudziak, Creative Poly

Pierre Lacroix


The importance of putting advanced technology to work for the purpose of better cleaning was evident at many company booths during the International Home & Housewares Show, including the booth manned by officials from Freudenberg Household Products (FHP O-Cedar®).

 

This focus on technology was clear as the company showcased its O-Duster™ robotic floor cleaner, which includes a microfiber-based cloth. The O-Duster™ operates on its own with the help of an automatic navigation system that changes the product’s direction when it detects objects and walls, and is self-rotating for additional cleaning power.

 

The product’s disposable electrostatic microfiber cleaning cloth attracts and retains dust, dirt and hair, according to the company, while its low profile allows the O-Duster™ to reach under furniture, and its base allows for the access to corners and edging.

 

“The user can press a button on the O-Duster™ and it will operate for a set amount of time,” FHP O-Cedar® Director of Marketing Pierre Lacroix said. “This product allows the user more time to do other things while the floor is being dusted.”

 

Among other products displayed at the booth were the Dual-Action Angler® Indoor Broom & Dust Pan, and the Easy Wring Spin Mop & Bucket System.

 

The broom/dust pan product features a foam blade placed inside the broom head, allowing the blade to capture and hold onto fine dust and hair. The dust pan, meanwhile, includes a “comb” feature to help the user better clean the broom head of debris such as hair.

 

The Easy Wring Spin Mop & Bucket System, meanwhile, includes a foot pedal device which allows the operator to wring out the product’s microfiber mop when it’s placed in the bucket.

 

“The more the user pushes the foot peddle, the drier the mop becomes. The mop is designed for all types of hard surface floors,” Lacroix said.

 

Creating innovative products remains an important focus at FHP O-Cedar®.

 

“I think this is going to be a big year for innovative cleaning tools. Many of these products are amazing,” Lacroix said. “Consumers are wanting to save time, and many are ready to pay (a little more) for those cleaning tools that are more efficient. There is a lot of technology today designed for producing better mops and brooms. People don’t realize all of the technology behind many of these products.”

 

He added that market research is vital at the company, allowing officials to better understand what consumers are looking for with cleaning supplies. Targeting unmet needs is essential.

 

“Once we know (those needs), then we put technology at work to develop interesting products,” Lacroix said. “More people are busier than ever today. They need to save time wherever possible. This can be done by using efficient cleaning tools. This includes the use of microfiber. New materials and technology continue to enter our industry.”
Lacroix also spoke of the importance of the Housewares Show for those companies involved in the manufacture and/or supply of cleaning-related items.

 

“A lot of buyers from big chains come to this show. This includes those arriving from Canada, Mexico and Europe. They want to see what is new,” Lacroix said. “Business has been very good as of late (for FHP O-Cedar®.) I feel new technology is bringing the (cleaning) category up.”

 

Contact: Freudenberg Household Products LP,
2188 Diehl Rd., Aurora, IL 60502-8775.
Phone: 630-270-1409.
Website: www.ocedar.com.

 

 

 

Keeping cleaning products “fresh” plays a pivotal role in satisfying current customer demands while also attracting new buyers. This is especially true for such domestic manufacturers as Brushtech Inc., of Plattsburgh, NY.

 

Since its founding in 1976, all Brushtech products have been produced at the company’s upstate New York facility. It has also been a regular exhibitor at the International Home & Housewares Show over the years. This is an event, according to Brushtech Vice President of Sales Zaven Gunjian, that helps his company remain in touch with the demands and needs found within the cleaning products industry.

 

“Everybody seems to show up at this show — from representatives of mom and pop shops to big box stores. Exhibiting makes it known within the industry that a company is still around and has new products to offer,” Gunjian said.

 

Brushtech specializes in making a variety of unique twisted-in-wire brushes. This includes those designed to clean barbecue grills; goblets, flutes and decanters; dishes, pots, pans, glasses and mugs; dryer vents ducts and lint traps; microwaves, refrigerator coils and dishwashers; toilets, clogged sink drains and waste food disposals; hummingbird feeders; laboratory glassware; outdoor furniture and many other items.

 

Among the new products showcased this year at Brushtech’s booth was a barbecue grill cleaning brush that Gunjian said is a new version of an old idea.

 

Walt Dudziak, Creative Poly

Zaven Gunjian

 

 

“We continually improve on our existing products. We look at what is selling well, and try to make improvements to those items that aren’t selling as well,” he explained. “Our new barbecue grill cleaning brush features a longer handle to allow the user’s hand to be farther way from a hot grill. We also have a new patent for another type of barbecue grill brush, this one featuring two prongs that can better cradle a hot grill during the cleaning process.”

 

Gunjian added that as soon as a new type of brush starts to do well, copycats can appear from other sources. Therefore, it’s important for companies such as Brushtech to remain one step ahead with new innovations.

 

“We often are the victims of our own success. If one type of brush gets used by a lot of people, then it can become copied by a lot of people,” he said. “There are a lot of new products out there that need to be cleaned, however, so it’s important to redesign and reinvent brushes to keep up with the times.

 

“I have often said that our greatest inventers are our own customers. They come to us with a problem and we see if we can make a product that solves the problem. If we are successful, then often that product can be sold to the public.”

 


(Continued on Top Right Column)

Although overall business has increased as of late for Brushtech, it’s been a tough year for the company as Zaven Gunjian’s father, Armen Gunjian, who founded the business, died last September of pancreatic cancer.

 

“We have been emotionally readjusting since the loss of our father,” Zaven Gunjian said. “There has been no disruption in the level of service that our customers receive. My sister (Brushtech’s new President Nora Gunjian) and I worked very closely with our father for many years. Our dad trained us well. We continue to make and sell quality brushes.

 

“We show up to work and put in a full day,” he added. “I see a future that is bright. We sell products to Internet retail customers, mom and pop shops and big box stores. It’s the whole spectrum. If you need a brush, we will make and sell it to you.”

 

Contact: Brushtech Inc., 4 Matt Ave., P.O. Box 1130, Plattsburgh, NY 12901. Phone: 518-563-8420.
Website: www.brushtechbrushes.com.

 

 

 

It takes an idea, planning and a lot of hard work to bring a new product to market — as well as to the International Home & Housewares Show. Sometimes, however, an idea seems so simple yet ingenious at the same time. This could probably be said about the SweepEasy, a three-in-one combination sweeping broom, scraper and buffer. The product was showcased at the SweepEasy’s Housewares Show booth.

 

“The original prototype was featured on the TV show Shark Tank. The inventor of the prototype was Shane Pannell,” SweepEasy representative Beau Rials said. “SweepEasy CEO Mario Barton struck a deal with the inventor and re-tooled the product. That is what we have at this year’s Housewares Show. We are also running two different two-minute TV commercials on national cable stations. I serve as the product’s voice-over man for both commercials.”

 

Rials added that the SweepEasy is, first and foremost, a quality sweeping broom. It also comes with two attachments that can extend from the center of the broom head — one containing a scraper and the other containing a tennis ball. The user turns and locks the broom handle into position when wanting to use either one of the attachments.

 

“The scraper attachment is designed to scrape off such items as gum, stickers, crushed jelly beans, etc. — whatever gets stuck to the floor. These items can then quickly be swept away by the SweepEasy broom,” Rials said. “When we attended the Housewares Show last year, we saw a janitorial person buffing scuff markets off of the floor using a tennis ball that was attached to a stick. This led to us adding such an attachment for the SweepEasy. The product is now a true three-in-one super sweep. It sweeps, it scrapes and it’s a scuff buffer.”

 

Les Laske, Vonco Products

Mario Barton, left, and Beau Rials

 

 

Rials said the product is currently only sold through the company’s TV slots and Website. However, retail partners are being sought.

 

“We have received interest from some big retail companies. The goal is to have the SweepEasy in people’s homes throughout the world. This is a product that can go into anyone’s home, no matter how big or small. It’s something everybody can use,” Rials said. “The bottom line is, floors get messy. People track in what was outside to inside the home. A lot of this ends up on the floor and it’s often stuck-on. Or, if it’s a scuff mark, it’s stuck on the floor in a different way. We feel our product helps solve both problems.”

 

Contact: SweepEasy, 9420 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd.,
Suite 108, Scottsdale, AZ 85258. Phone: 480-291-9040.
Website: www.sweepeasy.com.


 

 

Helping people clean more efficiently in and around the home remains a key objective at Butler Home Products. Company officials continue to push hard for innovation within the cleaning tools field in an effort to satisfy the needs of both retail partners and consumers.

 

Butler Home Products provides a wide variety of brush, sponge and related cleaning items for the housewares segment, many of which were showcased during this year’s International Home & Housewares Show.

 

“Our retail partners and consumers are always looking for something new, different and better when it comes to cleaning around the house,” Butler Home Products Senior Vice President of Marketing Michael Silverman said. “They want products that make the cleaning job easier and faster. These are the type of products that we look to bring to market — those that help people better live their lives and not have to worry so much about the cleaning process.

 

Walt Dudziak, Creative Poly

Michael Silverman

 

 

“Innovation is one of the key principles to accomplishing this goal. Our company can also be a complete source as far as offering different price points as well as different brand names such as Mr. Clean®.”

 

Silverman said the Housewares Show is an ideal place to showcase new cleaning products every year.

 

“This is where we see our customers, including those people in senior management, as well as the industry trade press. To us, this event is the Oscars, the Super Bowl and the World Series all rolled into one,” Silverman said.

 

Regarding specific items to be highlighted in 2013, a main focus for officials at Butler Homes Products centers around the company’s Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser® Toilet Scrubber. Silverman called it a new and innovative toilet cleaning product that uses Magic Eraser® cleaning material infused with Febreze® freshness.

 

“It comes in an easy-to-assemble kit. The entire product can be used without ever having to touch the toilet or cleaning puck,” he said. “The product features the power of the Mr. Clean® and Magic Eraser® brands. We are looking for it to be a big winner in 2013 going forward.”

 

During the show, officials from Butler Homes Products also featured the company’s expanding Dawn® sponge range. This includes cellulose sponges that feature SuperFabric scrubbing material.

 

“We are introducing a line of more value-priced sponge products under the Dawn® brand,” Silverman said. “There are three- and six-pack heavy-duty scrubbing sponges; three- and six-pack non-scratch scrubbing sponges; and four-pack cellulose sponges. These sponges all come with the patented Dawn® wedge shape.”

 

Other items being showcased by Butler Homes Products in 2013 include Mr. Clean® Loving Hands gloves, which are longer-cuffed gloves made from a proprietary tri-blend material of latex, nitrile and neoprene; and the TWIST™ brand of natural and eco-friendly household cleaning products.

 

“Butler has taken over the distribution and sales of the TWIST™ brand of natural products. These items are not dyed or bleached, and are made from natural plant-based materials,” Silverman said. “No glues are used, and (many of the items are) sewn with cotton fibers to keep the products biodegradable.”

 

Silverman added that business for Butler Homes Products has been good as of late, and that company officials continue to find success by driving sales through different promotional opportunities.

 

Contact: Butler Home Products LLC, 237 Cedar Hill St., Marlborough, MA 01752. Phone: 508-597-8017.
Website: www.thebutler.com.


 

Raw Material Imports Down, Finished Goods Up — Exports Up Slightly

import

 

By Rick Mullen, Broom, Brush & Mop Magazine Associate Editor

 

U.S. government trade figures for the first 11 months of 2012 indicate raw material imports were down in three of the four categories outlined in this issue, compared to the first 11 months of 2011. For November 2012, raw material imports were down in two of the four categories outlined, while one category was the same, compared to November 2011.

 

Import totals for the first 11 months of 2012 were up in six of the eight finished goods categories outlined from the same time period in 2011. In November 2012, five of the eight categories outlined recorded decreases, compared to November 2011.

 

RAW MATERIAL IMPORTS


Hog Bristle

The United States imported 16,135 kilograms of hog bristle in November 2012, down 46 percent from 29,770 kilograms imported in November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 318,324 kilograms of hog bristle were imported, a 20 percent decrease from 397,786 kilograms imported during the first 11 months of 2011.

 

China sent 316,278 kilograms of hog bristle to the United States during the first 11 months of 2012, while Thailand exported the remainder.

 

The average price per kilogram for November 2012 was $21.90, up 430 percent from the average price per kilogram for November 2011 of $4.13. The average price per kilogram for the first 11 months of 2012 was $13.62, up 46 percent from $9.31 per kilogram for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Broom And Mop Handles

The import total of broom and mop handles during November 2012 was 1.3 million, down 13 percent from 1.5 million for November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 15.8 million broom and mop handles were imported, down 23 percent from 20.5 million for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

During the first 11 months of 2012, the United States received 5.1 million broom and mop handles from Brazil, 3.6 million from Honduras, 3.5 million from Indonesia and 2.9 million from China.

 

The average price per handle for November 2012 was 63 cents, down 32 percent from the average price for November 2011 of 93 cents. The average price for the first 11 months of 2012 was 77 cents, down 8 percent from 84 cents for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Brush Backs

November 2012 imports of brush backs totaled 612,504, up 13 percent from the November 2011 total of 541,113 brush backs. During the first 11 months of 2012, 7.7 million brush backs were imported, up 38 percent from 5.6 million for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Sri Lanka shipped 3.5 million brush backs to the United States during the first 11 months of 2012, while Canada shipped 3.4 million.

 

The average price per brush back was 41 cents during November 2012, down 11 percent from the average price for November 2011 of 46 cents. For the first 11 months of 2012, the average price per brush back was 46 cents, down 4 percent from 48 cents for the first 11 months of 2011.


 

Metal Handles

The import total of metal handles during November 2012 was 2.3 million, the same as for November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 25.8 million metal handles were imported, down 12 percent from 29.3 million for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

During the first 11 months of 2012, Italy shipped 15.3 million metal handles to the United States, while China sent 6.9 million.

 

The average price per handle for November 2012 was 68 cents, down 19 percent from 84 cents for November 2011. The average price for the first 11 months of 2012 was 66 cents, down 10 percent from 73 cents for the first 11 months of 2011.


 

FINISHED GOODS IMPORTS


Brooms Of Broom Corn

Valued At Less Than 96 Cents

Imports of brooms of broom corn valued at less than 96 cents per broom during November 2012 totaled 13,500, up 36 percent from 9,960 brooms imported during November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 196,436 brooms of broom corn were imported, up 14 percent from 172,176 for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Mexico sent 151,716 brooms to the United States during the first 11 months of 2012, while China shipped the remainder.

 

The average price per broom in November 2012 was 69 cents, down 13 percent from 79 cents for November 2011. The average price per broom for the first 11 months of 2012 was 84 cents, up 4 percent from the average price for the first 11 months of 2011 of 81 cents.

 

Brooms Of Broom Corn

Valued At Less Than 96 Cents

The United States imported 633,095 brooms of broom corn valued at more than 96 cents per broom during November 2012, down 3 percent from 654,973 for November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 7.4 million brooms of broom corn were imported, down 6 percent from 7.9 million for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Mexico shipped 7.2 million brooms to the United States during the first 11 months of 2012.

 

The average price per broom for November 2012 was $2.44, up 3 percent from $2.36 for November 2011. The average price per broom for the first 11 months of 2012 was $2.44, up 2 percent from the average price for the first 11 months of 2011 of $2.39.

 

Brooms & Brushes Of Vegetable Material

The import total of brooms and brushes of vegetable material during November 2012 was 70,778, down 40 percent from 117,152 brooms and brushes imported during November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 1.7 million brooms and brushes were imported, up 13 percent from 1.5 million imported during the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Sri Lanka exported 942,130 brooms and brushes to the United States during the first 11 months of 2012, while China sent 293,297.

 

The average price per unit for November 2012 was $1.99, up 53 percent from the average price for November 2011 of $1.30. The average price for the first 11 months of 2012 was $1.22, a decrease of 4 percent from the average price recorded for the first 11 months of 2011 of $1.27.

 

Toothbrushes

The United States imported 75.9 million toothbrushes in November 2012, down 1 percent from 76.3 million imported in November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 964.1 million toothbrushes were imported, an increase of 17 percent from 821.7 million imported during the first 11 months of 2011.

 

China sent 741.3 million toothbrushes to the United States during the first 11 months of 2012. Meanwhile, Switzerland exported 63.5 million and Vietnam shipped 56.4 million.

 

The average price per toothbrush for November 2012 was 26 cents, up 2 cents from the average price for November 2011. The average price for the first 11 months of 2012 was 21 cents, down 2 cents from the average price for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Hairbrushes

The United States imported 3.9 million hairbrushes in November 2012, down 3 percent from 4 million imported in November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 51.9 million hairbrushes were imported, up 9 percent from 47.4 million imported during the first 11 months of 2011.

 

China sent 51 million hairbrushes to the United States during the first 11 months of 2012.

 

The average price per hairbrush for November 2012 was 27 cents, down 13 percent from 31 cents for November 2011. The average price for the first 11 months of 2012 was 27 cents, down 1 cent from the average price for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

 

(Continued on Top Right Column)



Shaving Brushes

The United States imported 8.4 million shaving brushes in November 2012, down 32 percent from 12.4 million imported in November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 71.4 million shaving brushes were imported, down 34 percent from 108.7 million imported during the first 11 months of 2011.

 

China sent 50.4 million shaving brushes to the United States during the first 11 months of 2012.

 

The average price per shaving brush for November 2012 was 10 cents, up 43 percent from 7 cents for November 2011. The average price for the first 11 months of 2012 was 12 cents, up 1 cent from the average price for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Paint Rollers

November 2012 imports of paint rollers totaled 4 million, up 33 percent from the November 2011 total of 3 million. During the first 11 months of 2012, 56.5 million paint rollers were imported, up 3 percent from 54.8 million for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

China shipped 43.2 million paint rollers to the United States during the first 11 months of 2012, while Mexico exported 10.1 million.

 

The average price per paint roller was 42 cents during November 2012, down 11 percent from 47 cents for November 2011. For the first 11 months of 2012, the average price per paint roller was 45 cents, up 5 percent from the average price for the first 11 months of 2011 of 43 cents.

 

Paintbrushes

U.S. companies imported 23.4 million paintbrushes during November 2012, up 41 percent from 16.6 million paintbrushes imported during November 2011. Paintbrush imports for the first 11 months of 2012 were 221.8 million, up 7 percent from 206.6 million recorded for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

China shipped 185.8 million paintbrushes to the United States during the first 11 months of 2012, while Indonesia exported 29.3 million.

 

The average price per paintbrush for November 2012 was 24 cents, up 1 cent from the average price for November 2011. The average price for the first 11 months of 2012 was 31 cents, also up 1 cent from the average price for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

EXPORTS

 

Export totals for the first 11 months of 2012 were up in three of the five categories outlined, compared to the first 11 months of 2011. In November 2012, three of the five categories outlined reported decreases in exports, with one category remaining the same, compared to November 2011.

 

Brooms & Brushes
Of Vegetable Materials

The United States exported 3,764 dozen brooms and brushes of vegetable materials during November 2012, down 36 percent from the November 2011 total of 5,844 dozen. Exports of brooms and brushes of vegetable materials during the first 11 months of 2012 were 103,912 dozen, up 37 percent from 75,869 dozen for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

The United States sent 31,996 dozen brooms and brushes to Brazil during the first 11 months of 2012 and 31,201 dozen to Canada.

 

The average price per dozen brooms and brushes was $44.86 in November 2012, up 15 percent from $39.06 for November 2011. The average price per dozen brooms and brushes for the first 11 months of 2012 was $38.73, a decrease of 23 percent from the average price per dozen for the first 11 months of 2011 of $50.41.

 

Toothbrushes

During November 2012, the United States exported 13.6 million toothbrushes, up 55 percent from the total recorded in November 2011 of 8.8 million. During the first 11 months of 2012, 137.7 million toothbrushes were exported, up 52 percent from 90.8 million exported during the first 11 months of 2011.

 

The United States exported 55.8 million toothbrushes to Canada during the first 11 months of 2012, while sending 21 million toothbrushes to Mexico and 10.1 million to Switzerland.

 

The average price per toothbrush for November 2012 was 45 cents, down 27 percent from the average price for November 2011 of 62 cents. The average price per toothbrush for the first 11 months of 2012 was 48 cents, down 21 percent from 61 cents for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Shaving Brushes

The United States exported 1.3 million shaving brushes during November 2012, the same as for November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 21.6 million shaving brushes were exported, up 5 percent from 20.5 million during the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Mexico imported 12.6 million shaving brushes from the United States during the first 11 months of 2012.

 

The average price per shaving brush for November 2012 was 83 cents, down 9 percent from 91 cents for November 2011. The average price for the first 11 months of 2012 was 65 cents, up 3 percent from 63 cents for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Artist brushes

The United States exported 542,514 million artist brushes during November 2012, down 51 percent from 1.1 million artist brushes exported for November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 8.7 million artist brushes were exported, down 16 percent from 10.4 million during the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Canada imported 5.3 million artist brushes from the United States during the first 11 months of 2012, while The United Kingdom received 996,119.

 

The average price per artist brush for November 2012 was $2.40, up 2 percent from $2.36 for November 2011. The average price for the first 11 months of 2012 was $2.87, up 12 percent from $2.56 recorded for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Paintbrushes

The export total of paintbrushes during November 2012 was 146,153, down 27 percent from 200,151 paintbrush exports recorded for November 2011. During the first 11 months of 2012, 1.6 million paintbrushes were exported, down 27 percent from 2.2 million during the first 11 months of 2011.

 

Canada imported 802,475 paintbrushes from the United States during the first 11 months of 2012.

 

The average price per paintbrush for November 2012 was $15.04, up 46 percent from $10.30 for November 2011. The average price for the first 11 months of 2012 was $13.50, up 37 percent from $9.84 recorded for the first 11 months of 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

November 2013 IE Data

 

Click here for entire November Export/Import Statistics

 


deal

U.S. Imports 102 Short Tons

Of Broom Corn
In December, 749 Short Tons

Overall In 2012

By Harrell Kerkhoff, Broom, Brush & Mop Magazine Editor

 

A total of 102 short tons of broom corn was imported into the United States during December 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Total value of this broom corn was $376,193, with an average cost per ton of $3,688 ($1.84 per pound).

 

According to the government, two countries supplied broom corn to the United States during December. A total of 84 short tons arrived from Mexico, with a total value of $314,818. The average cost per ton of this broom corn was $3,748 ($1.87 per pound). The other country to import broom corn to the United States during the month was Hungary with 18 short tons. Total value of this broom corn was $61,375, with an average cost per ton of $3,410 ($1.71 per pound).

 

Final figures for 2012 show that 749 short tons of broom corn entered the United States, with a total value of $2,243,120. The average cost per ton of this broom corn was $2,995 ($1.50 per pound). In comparison, 739 short tons of broom corn were imported into the United States during 2011. Total value of this import was $1,797,448, with an average cost per ton of $2,432 ($1.22 per pound).

 

The entire 749 short tons of broom corn imported into the United States during 2012 came from Mexico aside from the 18 Hungarian short tons that arrived in December.

 

Richard Caddy

Richard Caddy

 

Richard Caddy, of R.E. Caddy & Co., Inc., in Greensboro, NC, said he was glad to see the final 2012 U.S. broom corn import figure to surpass the 700 short ton mark.

 

“It looks like there was some pretty good movement in December. For the year, however, there were problems with the amount of available (Mexican) broom corn. A lot of this was due to bad weather and competing crops that were planted in Mexico instead of broom corn,” Caddy said. “It helps to receive broom corn from Hungary as it takes some of the pressure off of Mexican broom corn. It’s been a couple of years since broom corn of any substance has been imported into the United States from Hungary. We may see more of this (imported Hungarian broom corn) during 2013.

 

“It’s not good when there is only one country (such as Mexico) supplying a product. This is because there are issues within a single country that are often beyond a person’s control. This can include bad weather, lack of irrigation and competing crops. It can all influence the amount of broom corn that is available from a single country.”

 

When interviewed on March 8, Caddy said it remains hard to find out just how much broom corn is being planted in the Torreon region of northern Mexico for this summer’s main harvest.

 

“I’m just hoping we will have at least as much broom corn from Torreon this year as we had in 2012. However, it’s hard to know at this point,” Caddy said.

 

He noted that as of early March, Mexican broom corn pricing had remained relatively stable over the previous four weeks, and that the imported Hungarian broom corn in December was a little less expensive compared to its Mexican counterpart. Caddy said, however, that there were probably other costs involved for the Eastern European import.

 

“The $1.71 per pound mark (for Hungarian broom corn) doesn’t include other charges needed to get that import to wherever it’s supposed to go,” Caddy said. “These added costs make it about the same price as the Mexican broom corn. It’s still good, however, to have another source in place.”

 

When it comes of quality, he added that the color of Hungarian broom corn is usually not quite as good compared to broom corn grown in Mexico.

 

“The fibers of the Hungarian broom corn, however, are OK, and the broom corn usually features good sweeping tips. From a standpoint of making brooms, this broom corn shouldn’t be a problem,” Caddy said.

 

The supply of yucca fiber for U.S. broom production, meanwhile, has been good as of late, according to Caddy.

 

“I haven’t had any particular problems receiving yucca fiber. Pricing firmed up several months ago, but the quality is still pretty good. I’m able to get what I need in supplies,” he said.

 

 

(Continued on Top Right Column)

 

 

Bart Pelton, of PelRay International, LLC, in San Antonio, TX, said December’s broom corn import figures looked accurate to him. They also indicate that the price of Mexican broom corn has gone up enough to make Hungarian broom corn become competitive again within the U.S. marketplace.

 

Bart Pelton

Bart Pelton

 

 

“When we say Hungarian broom corn, it’s processed in Hungary but may have been grown in Serbia, Romania or other Eastern European countries,” Pelton said. “Nonetheless, for the first time in years it’s now competitive due to the high price of Mexican broom corn. The Hungarian broom corn is not dramatically cheaper, but it’s certainly competitive.”

 

Pelton felt the relatively strong overall broom corn import figure of 102 short tons for December, which was the highest monthly total since August 2011, indicated that some broom factories were adding to their inventories. This was possibly due to higher prices and shortages forecasted for the near future.

 

He stated that a larger than normal broom corn harvest from Apatzingan is also expected to help with future pricing and supply. This broom corn, which is grown in southern Mexico, is typically harvested in February.

 

“There is some Apatzingan broom corn that has arrived in Cadereyta,” Pelton said, when interviewed on March 11. “I have been told that this year’s crop is around 200 raw tons (120 tons on a processed basis.) It’s probably the largest Apatzingan crop that has been available in many years.

 

“I think (the larger than expected Apatzingan crop) came in response to higher prices experienced last year for Torreon’s crop (in northern Mexico).”

 

Pelton said this year’s Apatzingan crop is not large enough to bring down the overall price of Mexican broom corn, but it has improved supply and could keep (Mexican) prices from rising much more. Most of the Apatzingan broom corn will remain in Mexico for broom producers located south of the border, he added.

 

“The Apatzingan broom corn traditionally runs heavy to insides, which is what there is the most of right now in Mexico. The extra tonnage will help, but it’s not going to soften the current demand for more hurl,” Pelton said.

 

He also reported on this spring’s broom corn planting that is taking place in the growing regions around northern Mexico. Pelton said there has been a fair amount of broom corn planted already in the “local” area around Cadereyta.

 

“This is dry-land broom corn and will need some rain if it’s going to make a crop,” he said. “A number of Torreon farmers, meanwhile, were recently invited to Cadereyta to meet with representatives from broom factories and processors. The purpose of the meeting was to provide these farmers encouragement about growing more broom corn, letting them know that there would be a good market for the crop.

 

“It’s encouraging that such a meeting took place. There hasn’t been too much promotion of broom corn around Torreon during the last couple of years. This is one of the reasons why the crop size shrunk so much and prices became higher.”

 

There is still a major road block ahead, however, before this summer’s Torreon broom corn harvest can be considered a success. The area remains under a severe drought.

 

“Even though fields there are irrigated, lake levels are so low that the government is cutting back on how much water will be available,” Pelton said.

 

He added that as of early March, Mexican broom corn prices have been fairly stable during the past month. There also remains some processed broom corn still available.

 

“The asking prices are fairly high, but the prices are at a level where supply and demand are pretty much in balance,” Pelton said.

 

Regarding yucca fiber, Pelton said prices have stabilized after a fairly large jump took place a few months ago. Drought conditions in the southwestern United States, where much of the yucca is grown and cut, is creating concerns about future pricing and supply.

 

On the subject of overall business at his company, Pelton said sales have been fairly steady. Part of this is due to recent storm cleanups and an increase in the U.S. housing market — all placing added pressure for more cleaning supplies such as brooms and mops.

 

 

 

Tim Monahan, of The Thomas Monahan Co., in Arcola, IL, was unavailable for comment for this month’s broom corn dealer survey.


 

 

 

(Click on image to download PDF)

 



Brush Manufacturers Attend Mill-Rose 50th Annual Luncheon

 

Brush manufacturers and suppliers from around the world gathered for the 50th annual Mill-Rose Brush Manufacturer’s luncheon, held in February at Pickwick & Frolick in downtown Cleveland, OH.

 

Over 60 representatives from the United States and countries as far away as Italy attended the The Mill-Rose Company luncheon event, hosted by the Mentor, OH-based company. Manufacturers and suppliers gathered during the week before the luncheon to discuss business trends, opportunities and other topics related to the industry.

 

Brushes manufactured by these companies are used in all types of industry around the world. Applications include makeup/mascara brushes, hair brushes, floor sweeping and polishing brushes, gun cleaning brushes, car wash brushes, copier toner brushes, brooms, paintbrushes and special brushes used in the medical field.

 

Local and regional companies attending the event included Malish Brush, Precision Brush, Osborn Brush, Sherwin Williams, Cleveland Wood Products, Spiral Brush, Brushes Corp., Phillips Brush, and The Mill-Rose Company.

 

The Mill-Rose Company is a U.S. manufacturer of twisted-in-wire brushes used in all types of industry throughout the world. Mill-Rose is a family-owned organization, now in its third generation. The company has experienced significant growth from its beginnings in 1919, and today operates manufacturing and warehouse facilities throughout the United States and Mexico.

 

A 64,000-square-foot production facility in Mentor, OH, and a 33,000-square-foot production facility in Mexico feature the latest in manufacturing techniques and quality-control programs. Manufacturing is complemented by a 70,000-square-foot U.S. distribution center in Mentor.


 

Mill Rose 2013 Luncheon

Pictured during the luncheon, clockwise at front table starting at lower left, are Joe Kelly, Bart Simon, Matt Tompkins,
Andrea Ghermandi, Jeff Malish, Brian Crawford and Paul Miller.

 

 

 

 



Wooster Offers New Semioval Paintbrushes

 

According to Wooster Brush Company officials, painters on average purchase more 2.5-inch angle sash brushes than any other size and style combination. Wooster is now offering, according to the company, the chance to achieve more with each brushstroke with the addition of 2.5-inch semioval angle sash style brushes in three of the company's best-selling filament blends.

 

Spokespeople say semioval angle sash brushes feature a design that is nearly twice as thick as their angle sash counterparts. This increase in size creates a larger internal reservoir for carrying paint to the surface. The brushes offer cut-in control similar to traditional angled brushes, without the need to spend as much time reloading. With this new semioval angle sash style, three Wooster professional filament blends can now do more.

 


 

Gordon Brush Footmate

 

 

 

Alpha™ features Micro Tip™ filaments that Wooster says create a fine professional finish.

 

Wooster’s Chinex® FTP™ brush has added stiffness and a fuller, softer tip for a precise stroke with less drag. FTP also offers cleanability and durability.

 

The blend of white and silver CT™ polyester in Silver Tip® helps eliminate brushmarks. Its thin, flexible ends provide leveling and smoothing.

 

Wooster semioval angle sash brushes are available at traditional paint and decorating centers, hardware stores, and paint sundry distributors and retailers.

 

Visit www.woosterbrush.com for more information.

 

 

 

 



Shurhold Expands Warehouse And Distribution


Shurhold Industries spokespeople say that in order to accommodate recent growth, the company has expanded its warehouse. Double the previous size, the 20,000-square-foot facility helps ensure products are well stocked and increases distribution.

 

“This expansion will allow us to continue to have a 99 percent fill rate with the average order shipping out within 12 hours,” said Shurhold President Barry Berhoff. “As we continue to expand our product line and markets we want to continue to provide the best quality fulfillment in the industry.”

 

Located in Palm City, FL, Shurhold Industries began in 1973 as a small, one-man operation based out of a garage in Port St. Lucie, FL. Since then, the company has moved twice to accommodate its growth.

 

Shurhold manufactures specialty care items and accessories to clean, polish and detail. Visit www.shurhold.com for more information.


 

Wooster's Jumbo Koter

Shurhold Industries has expanded is warehouse to 20,000 square feet.

 

 

 



International Housewares Association Officials
Comment On State Of The Industry

 

Shurhold Water Blade for RV's

McCormick Place in Chicago is busy every

March for the annual International Home & Housewares Show.

 

 

While the U.S. economy remains fragile and consumer confidence is riding a roller coaster, housewares companies are adapting.

 

“The resilience of the housewares business is extraordinary,” says William P. Reibl, president of Infusion Living LLC and chairman of the International Housewares Association.

 

“It’s a business driven by innovation and newness in product, which is still encouraging the consumer to purchase,” he said. “Understanding consumer dynamics and creating great value to meet these expectations allows the industry to continue to perform well. The cost structure has changed and the industry has adjusted well.”

 

Evan Dash, CEO of StoreBound, agrees that successful housewares companies have adjusted to pressures such as the relative weakness of the U.S. dollar, increasing cost of manufacturing outside the United States and the lack of manufacturing infrastructure in the United States.

 

“We’ve heard so much about these factors for so long,” he said. “The only thing that has changed is that this new reality has finally become well-known and accepted. Therefore, it’s not being talked about incessantly, and most companies have focused their efforts on managing and overcoming these factors.

 

“The bottom line is there’s a fairly even playing field out there. Those who continue to innovate and evolve are the ones who experience the better results.”

 

Dash adds that evolution has included finding new channels for distribution, designing high-end products consumers want and internationalizing. He notes, for example, that Chinese consumers are buying at an increasing rate, while India’s consumption is growing significantly as well.

 

The Chinese retail landscape is still evolving and the tactics housewares companies need to employ in the Chinese market “are still a mystery to most companies,” he says. “The steps to penetrate the market and connect with the consumer are more complicated than most other territories around the world.”

 

Housewares companies, without exception, have to become better at channel management, whether in the United States or abroad, agrees Richard Boynton, president & CEO of Jura Capresso, Inc.

 

“You have to have your product where people shop and that’s something we tweak all the time,” he said. “If you have your boat tied to a rotted pier, you’re going to go out of business.”

 

Another challenge, says Bruce Kaminstein, CEO of Casabella Holdings LLC, is for housewares companies to emerge unscathed in a consumer market that he believes has become “blurred.”

 

“There aren’t clear segments like there used to be,” he said. “The specialty store market wants prices as low as everybody else. Prices need to be low in terms of retail, not in terms of the consumer. Our job as manufacturers is to innovate, to wow the customers. If you do that, they are willing to spend money. But, if there’s not a lot of differentiation and the next guy is at a lower price, consumers are going to go with the lower price.

 

“There’s no room for us unless we’re nimble and innovative because consumers can always find it cheaper,” Kaminstein said.

 

Reibl believes there is always more business to be won even in difficult economic times.

 

“It’s an industry open to start-ups founded on great innovation and value,” he says. “My opinion is that 2013 will be a great year for those driving uniqueness in product.”

 

Adds Dash: “The housewares landscape keeps getting brighter. Literally. Companies are stepping out with bolder designs and colors and coupling this with stronger innovation as well as advances in material science. And the consumer is rewarding companies that are doing this well consistently.”

 

 

 



 

January 2013 Calendar