BBM eNews

Exhibitors and buyers of housewares from around the world once again converged at Chicago’s McCormick Place for the International Home & Housewares Show. Among those showcasing their latest products and innovations were companies that produce and/or supply various types of brushes, brooms, mops, squeegees, sponges and related cleaning wares.


Representatives from four companies that took part in the 2012 edition of this annual event, held this year on March 10-13, were interviewed by Broom, Brush & Mop Magazine. They discussed many new product introductions and innovations that are designed to meet today’s demands placed by various retail customers and end-use consumers.

Zaven Gunjian, Brushtech Vice President of Sales


U.S. companies that produce brushes today slated for use in and around the home know the true value of innovation. In order to successfully compete against imports that are often made with cheaper labor, domestic manufacturers such as Brushtech, Inc., of Plattsburgh, NY, rely on a continuous cycle of product introductions that help consumers better perform specific cleaning tasks.


“It’s a competitive market. If you are not doing something new, you are ancient history,” Brushtech Vice President of Sales Zaven Gunjian said. "It’s important our company is always paying attention to what new products consumers are buying. This is done so we can develop new brushes to clean those products."


“As soon as a new brush starts to do well, the copycats begin appearing from overseas. Therefore, we have to keep fresh and stay one step ahead.”


Since 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, Gunjian said, that helps his company keep in touch with existing clients while also seeking out new customers.


“It’s always nice to put a face with a name when working with customers, which we can often do at the Housewares Show,” he said. “If we send a product sample in the mail and that customer doesn’t take the time to read the attached letter, then there is no hope of reaching that person about the product. But here at the show, I can exhibit all of our products and explain how each item can save a person money.”


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 by Brushtech were brushes designed to help the end-user clean smaller size goblets, brushes that featured a foam tip, and barbecue grill cleaning brushes that have heavy-dusty brass bristles.


“We also have come out with new brushes to better clean narrow-neck vases where a human hand cannot reach,” Gunjian said.


Gunjian reported that he is starting to see signs of a slow U.S. economic recovery taking shape, which is certainly good news for everyone involved in domestic brush making.


“Business right now is not as good as during the peak periods that were experienced in the past, but we are very hopeful for the future,” Gunjian said.


“I’ve recently talked to customers who have held on to our company’s product samples for several years and who are just now ready to take a serious look at those samples. This is a good sign for the future. It also tells me that we, as a company, must be doing something right if they are willing to keep our samples around for that length of time."


“I’m also seeing more customers coming back to U.S.-made products. This is due to better delivery times and quality concerns. These factors are balancing out cheaper labor rates that can be found from overseas.”


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


Focusing on end-consumers — those people actually doing the cleaning — is a major objective for Unger Industrial in 2012. An important part of this focus is helping to make housework “cleaner, faster and safer,” according to Unger Director of Retail Marketing Scott Machado and Marketing Specialist Ethan Voltolini.

Scott Machado (left), Unger Director of Retail Marketing,
and Ethan Voltolini, Unger Marketing Specialist


According to Machado, end-consumers include those people who clean for a living, the do-it-yourselfers who clean while at home, and even children who clean around the house as part of their chores.


Machado broke down further what “cleaner, faster and safer” means to Unger Industrial when introducing new products and systems. This includes:


• Cleaner — “Everybody wants their homes and work areas to be as clean as possible,” Machado said.


To make this happen, Unger continues to expand upon its assortment of microfiber attachments that, according to Machado, can pick up 99 percent of germs, dust and debris with or without the use of cleaning chemicals;

• Faster — Many of Unger’s cleaning products are part of the company’s Connect & Clean System™, where various types of heads, such as dusters, scrubbers and squeegees, can attach to one extension handle.


Machado said: “Cleaning with an extension handle is 10 times faster than cleaning with a hand-held tool and a ladder. Therefore, almost all of our products work within the Connect & Clean System™.”


With this system, he added, consumers can efficiently clean and safely maintain high access areas throughout the home; and,

• Safer — “Every year there are roughly one quarter of a million emergency room visits in the United States involving injured people who have fallen from ladders or stools. These are people trying to perform household duties that shouldn’t be considered dangerous. Unger’s Connect & Clean System™ helps alleviate this problem. We continue to add products to the system to meet different cleaning needs,” Machado said.


Other new product innovations showcased by Unger during the Housewares Show included a microfiber feather duster (a 2012 Housewares Design Award nominee) that can be used hand-held or on a telescopic pole. The product has a removable head that can be washed.


“We continue to listen to consumers and conduct product surveys. Through our research, Unger developed a duster that can better clean plantation shutters. These are shutters that are basically three inches in width or wider (for each shutter sleeve) and are becoming more popular in homes,” Voltolini said. “The duster can be hand-held or attached to a tele-pole for high access cleaning.”


Unger also showcased its new Swivel & Scrub™ Brush that, according to the company, comes with a pointed tip to better clean corners and grout lines found in bathrooms, kitchens and other high access parts of a home; as well as displaying its Hang-Up™ Storage System.


“Storage is increasingly becoming a popular category. With the slower economy, more people are staying

in their current homes

and getting these living quarters better organized. They are also taking pride in

their sheds and garages,” Machado said. “Unger has developed six new attachments to the Hang-Up™ Storage System. They all can also work independently — wherever there is a need to store tools efficiently.”


A new lint grabber that can be used to clean floors, curtains, upholstery, bedding, etc.; and a variety of grabbers/nabbers that reduce the need to bend down while picking something up were also highlighted by Unger at the Housewares Show.

Machado said product development continues to be a vital part of Unger’s success as company officials focus on product testing, in-home studies and marketing surveys.


“When talking with consumers, we find that their needs often change just as their homes change. Also, with the current state of the economy, more people are cleaning their own homes. Therefore, these homeowners are realizing there are new products available that can make the cleaning process easier,” Machado said. “For example, people have special possessions like vases, chandeliers and flat screen televisions in their homes and want to dust these items accordingly. Therefore, new dusting products are born.

(Continued on Top Right Column)

“Our global design team is closely aligned with consumers as are our sales and marketing teams. This helps Unger provide quality products that make sense.”


Machado added that the very existence of the International Home & Housewares Show helps Unger set goals to finish new products on time in order to exhibit them at the annual event.


“The show also allows us to better get Unger’s message across. It’s more than just a company producing innovative products. Unger has a story to tell and can provide one-on-one communication with both customers and consumers,” Voltolini added.


Contact: Unger Industrial, LLC, 425 Asylum St.,
Bridgeport, CT 06610-2105. Phone: 203-336-3344.


Highlighting that one of its products was being featured in an episode of television’s The Celebrity Apprentice was an objective of Freudenberg Household Products (FHP O-Cedar®) while exhibiting at this year’s Housewares Show.


The company’s O-Cedar ProMist® Spray Mop was seen in March on The Celebrity Apprentice, according to FHP O-Cedar® Director of Marketing - U.S. Michelle Goldberg.


“Viewers saw celebrity teams working on a specific task while using the ProMist®. (FHP O-Cedar®) also provided an opportunity on Facebook for consumers to win tickets to the live finale of The Celebrity Apprentice, and conducted a promotion where one consumer would win $5,000,” Goldberg said.


Michelle Goldberg, FHP O-Cedar® U.S. Director of Marketing


She added that the O-Cedar ProMist® Spray Mop features both washable and disposable microfiber pads. Other products highlighted at the Housewares Show by the company included a hand-held steel scrubber as well as a scrubber for non-stick pans featuring a mesh; and a three-piece duster kit called the Dual Action Duster. The latter product features chenille in the item’s microfiber.
“It can be used as a hand duster or with an extendable handle to clean ceiling fans, etc.,” Goldberg said.


With a continual focus on new product development at FHP O-Cedar®, she added that the most profitable area of growth in the housewares industry pertaining to the consumer segment stems from innovation.


“We are talking about people who clean 8 to 10 times a month and are looking for confidence in their cleaning procedures. There are certain segments always looking for the ‘next best thing,’” Goldberg said. “There are also people who like to use more traditional products. This is why it’s nice to make innovation part of an evolutionary process with certain items. Sometimes an evolution is just as good as a revolution. You can take a product and continually make it better.


“The bottom line is, cleaning still remains a chore. Consumers want something that helps make their jobs easier. Therefore, it’s our job (as a cleaning products supplier) to satisfy this demand while promoting innovation.”


Goldberg said the Housewares Show gives officials at FHP O-Cedar® a chance to sit down with buyers in an environment where these buyers can take more time to look at different product options on display.


“We are able to better show what our company can bring to the table for our customers and their shoppers,” she said.


When asked about the current overall state of the U.S. housewares industry, Goldberg said the category has been relatively flat for the past couple of years due to the slow economy.


“For our industry, it’s been particularly challenging because the cost of raw materials, such as those used to make plastic, has been high,” she said. “Fortunately, we make a lot of our products from recycled materials and are always looking for different ways to expand this focus.”


She added that providing more eco-friendly products and manufacturing procedures are areas of growing interest among many consumers.


“It’s not necessarily the main purchase driver for people, but I think they come to expect products that are friendlier toward the environmental. It’s a bonus,” Goldberg said. “They like to see that the manufacturer is being responsible. (FHP O-Cedar®) actually has a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver-certified manufacturing facility in the Chicago area. Both the office there, and the plant, are certified.


“We make sure to tell our buyers about this facility and that we are a very responsible organization. This includes our parent company in Europe.”


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


Being a solid retail partner is a main objective for Butler Home Products as the company continues to provide a wide variety of brush and related cleaning products for the housewares marketplace.


“We regularly examine why retailers want to be our partners,” Butler Home Products Senior Vice President of Marketing Michael Silverman said. “Innovation is one of the key principles. 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® and Black & Decker®.”


The company also works on driving sales through different promotions in association with its customer base.


“For example, with our Procter & Gamble partnership, which owns the Mr. Clean® license, Butler Home Products is able to participate in many cross-promotions. Customers can receive the benefits of both companies,” Silverman said.

Michael Silverman, Butler Home Products Senior Vice President of Marketing


He added that by attending the Housewares Show every year, representatives of Butler Home Products can better share their own visions concerning future growth with different customers.


“They can better see how we envision our products being merchandised and brought to market,” Silverman said.


While at this year’s show, the company had on display several new items. Included was the Mr. Clean® Breeze Spray Mop. The consumer can use any type of cleaning liquid with this product from an attached bottle container. The product also features a large microfiber pad that is washable.


“Refill pads and containers are available as well. Consumers can purchase additional containers and fill them with water or various cleaning solutions. This way, they can have different solutions on hand while cleaning a bathroom versus a kitchen, or a wooden floor versus a tile floor, etc.,” Silverman said. “These containers can be placed in storage until needed for a specific cleaning task.”

Butler Homes Products also showcased its new line of Black & Decker® branded housewares, featuring the familiar orange and black color scheme. This is a new license for the company.


“These products are mainly designed for the male consumer and include push brooms, scrub brushes, mops and a full assortment of window squeegees and dusting items,” Silverman said. “Some of the (Black & Decker®) items come with unique features, such as pushbrooms that are shipped and sold knocked down (needing assembly) but are still fully braced. The consumer gets the strength and stability of a braced broom, while the product is much easier to transport while being shipped.”


The pushbroom head comes in 18- and 24-inch sizes.


Other new items shown by Butler Homes Products during the Housewares Show included the Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser® Toilet Scrubber that comes with multiple features; and the Mr. Clean® glove line offering nine different styles.


“These gloves come in both latex and latex-free versions, along with being either disposable or reusable — all under the Mr. Clean® brand,” Silverman said. “The new packaging is very clean and easy to understand. It tells about the benefits of each type of glove, allowing the consumer to make the best purchase decision possible.”


Silverman also addressed the overall state of the U.S. housewares industry, stating the current economy continues to be a challenge for many companies in the market.


“However, Butler Home Products has still been able to grow. I feel this can be credited to the principles that our company has in place that highlight innovation, quality, best brands, being a complete source and promotions,” Silverman said. “This is a formula that has been working well for us, and we will continue to focus on these areas.”


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



Interbrush 2012, known as perhaps the most significant international trade fair for manufacturers and suppliers of machines and accessories for the brush, paintbrush, paint roller and mop industries is scheduled for May 9-11 in Freiburg, Germany.


Conducted every four years, Interbrush 2012 will be held at the exhibition and conference center know as Messe Freiburg. This modern complex combines more than four decades of event knowledge and experience with charm and state-of-the-art technology.


According to organizers, Interbrush offers attendees the opportunity to become acquainted with all the important trends and innovations of the brush machinery industry. In addition, at Interbrush attendees will have the chance to speak face-to-face with many experts and decision-makers from all over the world.


Interbrush 2008 experienced 7,000 fair visitors from about 100 countries. Exhibitors from more than 30 countries were represented at the trade fair. The number of exhibitors in 2008 increased by 29 percent to 180, with nearly 75 percent of all exhibitors coming from Europe.


According to Interbrush organizers, attendees viewed complete industrial processing lines, current innovative technologies and various raw materials and semi-finished products. The increasing number of exhibitors confirm the significance of the expansion of Freiburg’s fair premises as the location of the Interbrush.


For Interbrush 2012, organizers are again expecting about 7,000 visitors and about 200 exhibitors.


Furthermore, in 2012, Interbrush will extend its exhibition range with the addition of packaging, cutting, injection molding and labeling machines, thus responding to requests of both visitors and exhibitors of the fair.


Exhibitors at Interbrush will display goods ranging from raw materials and half-finished products to components, machinery and accessories. Raw materials that will be presented are used in the brush, paintbrush and mop industries, including bristles, hair (horse, ox and fine hair), vegetable fibrous materials, synthetic fibers, monofilaments, paint roller covers, etc. A wide variety of half-finished products and accessories for the mop, brush and paintbrush industries — such as special wires, ferrules, brush backs, handles and others — will also be displayed.


Also exhibited at Interbrush 2012, will be the latest in state-of-the-art machinery to produce all types of brooms, mops, paintbrushes, toothbrushes, technical brushes and paint rollers. In addition, injection molding machines, bristle and fiber processing machines, as well as stamping, surface treatment and printing machines will be presented.


Speaking at the recent 95th American Brush Manufacturers Association (ABMA) Annual Convention in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, FWTM/Messe Freiburg Director Daniel Strowitzki invited ABMA members to attend Interbrush 2012.

(Continued on Top Right Column)

“We expect exhibitors from more than 30 countries around the world to attend this year’s Interbrush,” Strowitzki said, “as well as around 7,000 to 7,500 visitors from nearly 100 countries around the world.”


Also, at the ABMA Convention, ABMA President Ian Moss encouraged members to attend saying, “It is a huge show. If you have never been; there is nothing like it … it is a great show.”
ABMA will also have a booth at the Interbrush convention where attendees can store briefcases or just relax. There will be a reception on Wednesday (May 9) at 10 p.m. hosted by Interbrush and ABMA.


Freiburg Welcomes Visitors


Freiburg is one of Germany’s most popular cities to visit and is the center of a vacation region that includes southern Germany and the nearby countries of France and Switzerland. Freiburg is often associated with the famous Black Forest region, with its traditional cherry-and-chocolate gateau and cuckoo clocks.


The city, with a population of about 215,000 people, is located on the western edge of the Black Forest in the immediate vicinity of France and Switzerland. Due to its geography, Freiburg, considered the warmest city in Germany, boasts a sunny climate and easy access to the Black Forest, making the city a hub for regional tourism.


As a university town, Freiburg offers a wide selection of cultural events, restaurants, coffee shops, museums and art galleries. The area’s pleasant climate allows for extensive wine growing.


Freiburg’s traditional cuisine is based on white asparagus (Spargel), river trout and “kässepätzle” (a cheese-covered dish of noodles).


In the center of Freiburg’s “old city” is the Münsterplatz, its largest square. A farmers market takes place there every day except Sundays. This is the site of Freiburg’s Münster, a gothic Minster Cathedral constructed of red sandstone, built between 1200 and 1530. The Freiburg Münster is known for its towering spire that can be seen from miles around.


Freiburg is located in the middle of a dense network of international airports. EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg is located in nearby France, about 40 minutes from Freiburg. In addition, Frankfurt International Airport in Germany, one of Europe’s largest hubs, is a two-hour train or car ride from Freiburg. Trains leave from the airport’s long distance train station to Freiburg on a regular basis. Trains also arrive in Freiburg from many other locations in Germany, France and Switzerland.


Imports Mostly Down, While Exports Trend Up In Categories Outlined
For January 2012



Including complete list of January

Import/Export Statistics


By Rick Mullen, Broom, Brush & Mop Associate Editor


Trade data released by the U.S. government indicated that in January 2012 raw material imports were up in two of the four categories outlined compared to January 2011.

Import totals for January 2012 were down in four of the seven finished goods categories outlined from January 2011.



Hog Bristle

U.S. companies imported 36,738 kilograms of hog bristle during January 2012, up 26 percent from 29,261 kilograms imported in January 2011.


China exported 36,544 kilograms of hog bristle to the United States in January 2012, while Thailand sent the remainder.

The average price per kilogram for January 2012 was $10.07 up 34 percent from $7.50 for January 2011.


Broom And Mop Handles

The import total of broom and mop handles during January 2012 was 1.3 million, down 32 percent from 1.9 million broom and mop handles imported in January 2011.


Brazil exported 483,573 broom and mop handles to the United States in January 2012, while Honduras sent 371,696, and China shipped 293,169.


The average price per handle for January 2012 was 95 cents, up 23 percent from 77 cents for January 2011.


Brush Backs

January 2012 imports of brush backs totaled 714,139, up 69 percent from the January 2011 total of 423,676 brush backs.


The Unites States imported 497,809 brush backs from Sri Lanka, and 216,326 from Canada during January 2012.


The average price per brush back was 48 cents during January 2012, down 6 percent from the average price for January 2011 of 51 cents.


Metal Handles

The import total of metal handles during January 2012 was 1.5 million, down 46 percent from the January 2011 total of 2.8 million.


The United States imported 918,685 million metal handles from Italy and 564,250 from China during January 2012.


The average price per handle for January 2012 was 99 cents, up 21 percent from 82 cents for January 2011.



Brooms Of Broom Corn

Valued At Less Than 96 Cents

The United States imported 32,016 brooms of broom corn valued at less than 96 cents per broom during January 2012, compared to zero imports of brooms of broom corn valued at less than 96 cents in January 2011.


Mexico shipped all the brooms imported to the United States in January 2012.


The average price per broom for January 2012 was 84 cents.


Brooms Of Broom Corn

Valued At More Than 96 Cents

The United States imported 601,043 brooms of broom corn valued at more than 96 cents per broom during January 2012, compared to 637,072 in January 2011, down 6 percent.


Mexico shipped 582,719 brooms to the United States in January 2012, while Honduras sent the remainder.


The average price per broom for January 2012 was $2.40, down 1 percent from $2.43 for January 2011.


Brooms & Brushes Of Vegetable Material

U.S. companies imported 137,612 brooms and brushes of vegetable material in January 2012, down 28 percent from 190,202 imported in January 2011.


In January 2012, Sri Lanka sent 59,849 to the United States, while China shipped 20,864.


The average price per unit for January 2012 was $2.40, down 1 percent from the average price for January 2011 of $2.43.



The United States imported 99.2 million toothbrushes in January 2012, up 17 percent from 84.6 million imported in January 2011.


In January 2012, China shipped 76.4 million toothbrushes to the United States, while Vietnam sent 7.3 million, and Switzerland shipped 6.8 million.


The average price per toothbrush for January 2012 was 18 cents, the same as the average price for January 2011.



January 2012 imports of hairbrushes totaled 4.4 million, up 10 percent from the January 2011 total of 4 million hairbrushes.


China shipped 4.3 million hairbrushes to the United States during January 2012.

(Continued on Top Right Column)

The average price per hairbrush was 29 cents during January 2012, down 6 percent from the average price for January 2011 of 31 cents.

Shaving Brushes

The United States imported 9.3 million shaving brushes in January 2012, down 35 percent from 14.4 million imported in January 2011.


China sent 6.3 million shaving brushes to the United States during January 2012, while Mexico sent 2.1 million.


The average price per shaving brush for January 2012 was 10 cents, up 1 cent from the average price for January 2011.



U.S. companies imported 18.2 million paintbrushes during January 2012, down 9 percent from 20.1 million brushes imported during January 2011.


In January 2012, China shipped 13.9 million paintbrushes to the United States, while Indonesia shipped 4.3 million.


The average price per paintbrush for January 2012 was 27 cents, down 16 percent from the January 2011 average price of 32 cents.




U.S. export totals for January 2012 were up in three of the five categories outlined, compared to January 2011, according to government trade data.


Brooms & Brushes Of Vegetable Materials

The United States exported 32,283 dozen brooms and brushes of vegetable materials during January 2012, up 325 percent from the January 2011 total of 7,593 dozen.


Brazil received 28,331 dozen brooms and brushes from the United States in January 2012, while Canada imported 1,420 dozen.


The average price per dozen brooms and brushes was $34.03 in January 2012, compared to $118.97 for January 2011, an decrease of 71 percent.



During January 2012, the United States exported 10.2 million toothbrushes, up 11 percent from the total recorded in January 2011 of 9.2 million.


In January 2012, Canada imported 4.2 million toothbrushes from the United States, while Argentina imported 1.5 million and Ireland received 1 million.


The average price per toothbrush for January 2012 was 58 cents, up 9 percent from the January 2011 average price of 53 cents.


Shaving Brushes

The United States exported 2.8 million shaving brushes during January 2012, up 22 percent from 2.3 million shaving brushes exported for January 2011.


Mexico imported 1.6 million shaving brushes from the United States during January 2012.


The average price per shaving brush for January 2012 was 50 cents, up 16 percent from the average price for January 2011 of 43 cents.


Artist brushes

January 2012 exports of artist brushes totaled 467,915, down 26 percent from the January 2011 total of 631,461 artist brushes.

Canada received 233,131 million artist brushes from the United States during January 2012, while The United Kingdom imported 64,318.


The average price per artist brush was $3.42 during January 2012, up 16 percent from the average price for January 2011 of $2.96.



The export total of paintbrushes during January 2012 was 145,065, down 6 percent from 154,126 paintbrush exports recorded for January 2011.


During January 2012, Canada imported 92,502 paintbrushes from the United States, while The United Kingdom received 21,147.


The average price per paintbrush for January 2012 was $12.38, up about 33 percent from $9.31 for January 2011.

Click here for entire January Export/Import Statistics




U.S. Imports 111 Short Tons

Of Broom Corn During

First 2 Months Of 2012


By Harrell Kerkhoff, Broom, Brush & Mop Editor


A total of 111 short tons of broom corn was imported into the United States during the first two months of 2012. The value of this broom corn was $330,712, with a cost per ton average of $2,979 ($1.49 per pound). All broom corn imports for the two months came from Mexico.


For January, 38 short tons of broom corn were imported with a total value of $102,019. The average cost per ton for the month was $2,685 ($1.34 per pound). Meanwhile, 73 short tons of imported broom corn arrived in the United States during February. Total value of this import was $228,693, with a cost per ton average of $3,133 ($1.57 per pound).


Tim Monahan


Tim Monahan, of The Thomas Monahan Co., in Arcola, IL, felt that import figures for the first two months of 2012 accurately showed the U.S. broom corn market had strengthen some in demand over this period. This was due, he said, to uncertainty over the level of available supply from Mexico.


“It’s believed that the supply of broom corn is a little tight right now. Higher prices for the imported broom corn in January and February reflect what’s going on in the marketplace,” Monahan said.


He added that most, if not all, broom corn imported into the United States from January to the middle of April of 2012 was grown in 2011. The first 2012 harvest from the Torreon region of Mexico is not expected to take place until late June through July. However, quality of the 2011 imported broom corn, according to Monahan, remains good.


When asked about that current state of yucca fiber, which is often used in the production of natural brooms, Monahan said this product has been harder to come by as several processors have gone out of business. As a result, importers of yucca fiber must deal with longer lead times, usually two to four weeks.


“It’s often closer to the four week side,” Monahan said. “The quality of the yucca fiber, however, has been good. Generally, yucca fiber will turn browner once the weather gets real hot. This usually takes place in August and September. Other than that, the quality should remain on the positive side.”


Monahan also commented on the state of overall business as of mid-April, stating the U.S. economy does show signs of recovery — but at a slow pace.


“It’s hard to figure. Business goes up and then it comes back down. The down usually isn’t as low as before, and the up is typically a little higher. The economy still appears to be bouncing around.”


Bart Pelton


Bart Pelton, of PelRay International, LLC, in San Antonio, TX, noted that U.S. broom corn imports have been averaging around 50 short tons a month, close to what took place during the first two months of 2012 when combined (at 111 short tons).


“The price per pound for January (at $1.34) looks a bit on the low side to me, but the increase for February (at $1.57 per pound) looks about right,” Pelton said.


He added that there is currently an imbalance regarding the Mexican supply of broom corn. This involves a surplus of insides and a tighten supply of hurl. Although most of this broom corn was grown in the Torreon region last year, this spring’s Apatzingan broom corn in Mexico also produced a surplus of insides.

(Continued on Top Right Column)

“Insides have become a drag on the market right now. Hurl prices are climbing, while prices for insides are also increasing, but at a much slower rate,” Pelton said.


There is a concern in the marketplace that the supply of broom corn will further tighten until the first Torreon harvest of 2012 takes place this summer. Pelton said he shares this concern.


“There is only one positive aspect to having higher broom corn prices staying around to after the first Torreon crop is harvested. That is if this could provide extra incentive for farmers to plant more broom corn for the second (Torreon) crop this year,” Pelton said. “The word is, this year’s first Torreon crop will be smaller than last year’s first crop. It’s discouraging, but not surprising. Farmers are switching from broom corn to growing other crops such as sweet corn, cotton and feed grains. These crops come with higher prices compared to broom corn.


“In addition, travel remains dangerous in the broom corn growing areas (of northern Mexico). Few broom manufacturers and broom corn processors are willing to travel into the Torreon area to promote the growing of broom corn. This has hurt efforts to get a bigger crop. The security situation in (the Mexican cities of) Cadereyta and Monterrey also continues to get worse.”


Meanwhile, Pelton reported on April 13 that yucca fiber prices have been fairly stable as of late, although some processors are starting to state their desires for higher pricing.


“We might see them attempt to increase prices in the near future. I don’t think it would be a big increase,” he said. “Buyers are starting to already pay a little bit more for the yucca fiber as freight costs have gone up.”


On a positive note, Pelton said overall business at his company has been good, particularly in comparison to the first part of last year. Also, the U.S. dollar has strengthen a bit as of mid-April against the Mexican peso.


Richard Caddy



Richard Caddy, of R.E. Caddy & Co., Inc., in Greensboro, NC, felt the broom corn import figures for the first two months of 2012 were accurate.


“It’s unfortunate that costs are going up. Some of this can be attributed to transportation costs. We are seeing increases with all of our carriers. The cost of fuel is probably the main reason,” Caddy said, when interviewed on April 13. “The price of broom corn itself has not been a major issue for the past 30 days. The major issue is the cost of transportation.”


Caddy added that he has received reports indicating a low level of broom corn planting took place this spring in the Torreon region of Mexico.


“This is not real encouraging. It looks like the best case scenario for 2012 would be having a similar-size crop as last year,” he said.

Caddy said there remains enough Mexican carry-over broom corn from 2011 to satisfy U.S. demand as of mid-April, but new supplies are still two to three months away.


“Along with Torreon, there should be some broom corn coming in this year from the Sinaloa region (of Mexico), but this amount will probably not be very large,” Caddy said.


Regarding yucca fiber, he added that high transportation costs are also causing concerns. Supply, meanwhile, remains adequate.


“(U.S. importers) compete with Mexican broom manufacturers for yucca fiber, but I haven’t had any problem lately receiving material. It can take four weeks to get the fiber. However, most of my customers who buy in larger quantities factor in this type of lead time when placing their orders,” Caddy said.


When asked about the state of overall business at his company, Caddy said that the first three months of 2012 were quite active, followed by a slower first two weeks in April.






Broom Corn Imports

Z.TIGER Offers High Production Output


Zahoransky AG from Todtnau, Germany, supplies the French manufacturer DUWA BROSSES with machines for the production of baby bottle brushes and baby hair brushes.

DUWA BROSSES is a manufacturer of brushes located in France, primarily focusing on round brushes. The products range from twisted miniature brushes to brushes for cosmetic and industrial applications.

In May 2011, DUWA started the fully automated Z.TIGER high performance machine with four stations at their site in St. Etienne, France.


Jean Pierre Duwa, technical director at Duwa Brosses, is shown with brushes produced on the Z.TIGER

This carousel machine is equipped with a block feeding conveyor and an integrated trimming unit. A special cleaning unit enables DUWA BROSSES to meet the strict hygiene requirements of the baby products segment. The configuration of the Z.TIGER is tailored to producing baby bottle brushes and baby hair brushes and to the processing of fine plastic filaments as well as natural filaments.

DUWA BROSSES says it opted for Z.TIGER from Zahoransky for several reasons. First, the tufting and drilling occurs automatically and enables tufting speeds of up to 1,200 tufts per minute. In addition to this high production output, the short conversion times of less than 30 minutes and a standstill time of under two seconds can ensure economically advantageous results. The systems’ high level of flexibility also enables custom-tailored, special solutions such as a cleaning and ionization system as well as the option for further automation to complete Z.TIGER’s broad range of opportunities.

Z.TIGER produces a wide range of brooms and brushes such as cylindrical brushes, WC brushes and disc brushes. The machines of the series are available with three or four stations. The four stations version is equipped with an integrated trimming aggregate in addition to the stations for loading/unloading, drilling and filling. All machines of this series also offer individual options in terms of automation.

Visit for more information.

Gordon Brush Acquires Assets Of The FootWork Corporation


Gordon Brush Mfg. Co., Inc. has acquired the assets of The FootWork Corporation of Sarasota, FL. All assets, including the trademarked FootMate™ System are now under the Gordon Brush umbrella.


The FootMate™ System is a uniquely contoured and specially designed brush that adheres to the bottom of any shower for cleansing and massaging the foot. The foot is rubbed across the contoured bristles, shaped to cradle the foot, with soft inner bristles and stiffer outer bristles. The system mounts to the shower wall for proper draining and has an anti-mildew retrieval rope to lift it from the shower floor to the wall.


The FootMate™ System was originally designed to help the over 25.8 million Americans who suffer from diabetes (American Diabetes Association). Diabetics are more vulnerable to foot problems because damaged nerves reduce blood flow to the feet. Visit for more information.


Kenneth Rakusin, Gordon Brush president and CEO

“When we first heard about the FootMate™ System opportunity, we saw the huge demographic the product can serve. Over 8.3 percent of the population of the United States alone has diabetes,” said Gordon Brush President and CEO Kenneth Rakusin. “Then, we began to realize that the FootMate™ System has a much larger reach. It has anti-bacterial applications that serve the entire huge beauty, health and hygiene markets.”


Contained within the FootMate™ System is an antiseptic, antifungal, germicidal, anti-bacterial cleanser and conditioning gel which is designed to treat foot odor, toe nail fungus, athlete’s foot, as well as minor cuts and abrasions.


Gordon Brush Mfg. Co., Inc., is ISO 9001:2008 Certified and a manufacturer of specialty, custom and standard brushes for industrial and consumer purposes including the FootMate™ System, as well as over 15,000 other medical, industrial, janitorial, and electronic brushes in its 51,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Commerce, CA. It stocks over 2,000 different brushes for same day shipment selling to a variety of industries including medical, electronics, manufacturing, military, aerospace and pharmaceutical.


For more information, visit Gordon Brush has been featured on the ION Network, Discovery Channel and in Bloomberg News.


The Malish Corporation Appoints New European Sales Director


The Malish Corporation has hired René Sohier as European sales director. In his new position, Sohier is responsible for representing the Malish line of rotary brushes and accessories and the DiamaBrush floor preparation system, focusing his sales efforts on original equipment manufacturers of floor care equipment.


René Sohier, Malish Sales Director

Sohier has over 20 years of professional experience in the brush, chemicals, and plastics industries. Sohier brings experience in sales, marketing, leadership and multi-national negotiating.

Jeff Malish, president of The Malish Corporation, said, “With his knowledge of industrial sales, René will be a valuable resource for Malish customers and will help us continue to provide high quality sales and support services throughout Europe.”
Visit for more information about the company.

Owen MacIntyre Retires From PFERD
After 16 Years As Southwest Regional Manager


Owen MacIntyre, a longtime veteran of the metalworking industry, including the past 16 years as southwest regional manager of PFERD INC., was recently honored by the company to mark his official retirement effective February 29. A retirement celebration, attended by PFERD executives, marketing and sales staffs, was held recently in Leominster, MA.

MacIntyre was originally from Philadelphia but attended college in New York City after serving two years in the U.S. Navy. He began his business career at Greenfield Tap and Die in Greenfield, MA, and later became sales manager at SPS Products before joining PFERD. He and his wife, Kathy, now live in Texas where they raised their three children. They also have five grandchildren.


Owen MacIntyre

PFERD President, Gene Huegin, marked the occasion by expressing the company’s gratitude to MacIntyre for his many years of excellent leadership and outstanding performance results. He also presented MacIntyre with a golf trip to Pebble Beach Resorts in Monterey, CA.

PFERD INC. and PFERD CANADA INC. are the North American subsidiaries of August Rüggeberg GmbH & Co. of Marienheide, Germany, a 213-year-old company which designs and manufactures abrasive products, cutting tools, brushes and power tools. ADVANCE BRUSH is a subsidiary of PFERD INC.

Visit for more company information.




Easy Steps Keep Shurhold’s Buffing Pads Like New


Shurhold officials say that there are simple steps to follow that will make the buffing pads for Shurhold’s Dual Action Polisher work better and last longer.

To prevent overloading and clumping of Shurhold’s Buff Magic Pad, the compounding product should be applied to the buffing surface, not directly on the pad. When the pad becomes matted, the Shurhold utility brush can fluff the pad up.


Meanwhile, the company says Shurhold’s Pro Polish foam waxing pad is also easy to maintain. Once the pad is saturated, it’s best to clean it before the next use. Both pads can be handwashed with warm, soapy water, rinsed and wrung out to air dry.

A general purpose wool light-cutting pad, the 6.5-inch Buff Magic is used for compounding. The black foam Pro Polish Pad achieves a high luster. Both pads are Velcro-backed for quick changing.

Shurhold manufactures specialty care items and accessories to clean, polish and detail.

Visit for more information.