(02/26/14) - Miguel Cabrera, Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Verlander - if you're a Detroit sports fan, they're all household names.
These all-stars don't just play in Michigan, they're also part of new product that's Made in Michigan. You might be surprised to find out exactly where.
The name is the same, but this isn't your ordinary Fathead.
"The minute it hit the market, it exploded," said Pat McInnis, Fathead CEO and president.
The Fathead Standout is a life-sized foam board cut-out made to order and featuring one of more than 40 big name professional athletes.
"Of course, we've got Mr. Lebron James here, he's our top seller, then you have Russell Wilson, who is the Super Bowl winning quarterback. He's on fire right now, he's doing well," McInnis said.
Fathead is based in downtown Detroit, but McInnis chose to produce this new product line somewhere else.
"We're doing it in Burton, Michigan. My hometown, Flint, Michigan, Burton is really a part of that. It's been a pleasure to really come back and work with a company here in Flint and bring jobs back into the city," McInnis said.
That company is Landaal Packaging. Printing, cutting and world-wide shipping began out of this Burton facility last November. It's Landaal's first truly commercial consumer product.
"We've kind of gone from the highly recycled commodity base to being able to produce something that's going to be standing out in somebody's bedroom or mancave for a long time. We're just really, really proud to be involved in that," said Bob Landaal, Landaal Packaging vice president.
Landaal Packaging invested around $1 million to help launch the line.
"Our Pro-Cut cutting machine is actually the same machine an auto maker uses to cut leather for car seats, so the technology is amazing, and frankly, the workflow we have set up in this room allows us to be competitive and able to go out and get business with a company like Fathead," Landaal said.
"When I saw that they were from Flint, that caught my attention right away, and then when we came and visited the plant, saw the technology that they created, it only made sense that we partner on this product," McInnis said.
Each Fathead Standout sells for around $125, and so far, Landaal has shipped them to places as far as France and Fiji.
"Through the holiday season, we sold just over 1,300 units, and we think this next year, these things are going to really take off," Landaal said.
One of the hottest sellers of late - a custom line, where people can upload and turn just about any picture into a Standout.
Over the last two years, Fathead and its parent company, Quicken Loans, has helped create more than 10,000 jobs across Michigan. So far, five of those are in Burton and even more could be on the way.
"Absolutely, and we're looking at other products as well, so hopefully, we'll add another 25 jobs. We want to keep jobs in Michigan. That's our objective and at whatever costs that we need to do that, we'll make it happen. Sometimes we may pay a little more, but it means more to us to keep our state growing," McInnis said.
If you'd like to get a look at Fathead's Standout product line, made in Burton, Michigan, click HERE.
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