|
|
|
The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Glove Crafters roll out new line

  • After a year of working on creating new gloves, getting the equipment, skilled employees, and certification, Glove Crafters in Quitman is ready to roll.

    • email print
      Comment
  • After a year of working on creating new gloves, getting the equipment, skilled employees, and certification, Glove Crafters in Quitman is ready to roll.
    In March of 2011, Lance and Summer Reynolds saw an opportunity to benefit Quitman and some recently out of work employees. “When Glove Corp. in Heber closed down last February, I saw a lot of skilled employees needing work and an opportunity for Quitman,” Lance Reynolds said. “So I contacted Keith (McCurley) and opened a glove manufacturing plant in Quitman.”
    Reynolds saw a need for jobs in Quitman and thought, why can’t they make gloves in Quitman. Reynolds, being new to the glove business, relied on the experience of McCurley and his wife, Pat, who have over 40 years experience a piece in glove manufacturing. They worked on everything from scratch from obtaining the building to designing the gloves. No part of the plant is a hold over from the now defunct Glove Corp. “We offered some skilled employees who had been laid off from the Glove Corp. a job,” Reynolds said. Everything else is original to Glove Crafters.
    “We began in the middle of March,” McCurley said. “We ordered equipment and leather and the components to make the three structural fire fight glove designs we had worked out. After buying the equipment and designing the three gloves, we contacted a certifying body for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).”
    The structural fire fighting gloves also have to be ISO certified as well, which also includes the forming of a company name and designing of a logo. “We have to be running some production through a line to be ISO certified,” Pat McCurley said. “We have to have a work flow in place before they will consider certifying us. We started with just seven employees and have worked up to 27. We received our ISO certification in November.”
    So for the past year Glove Crafters have designed their gloves and sent them off for the rigorous testing needed to become NFPA certified. “It’s a very hard process,” Pat said.
    “The gloves have to withstand 536 degrees of heat and are tested while wet and dry. The gloves have to be designed to a certain criteria of perfection. They must have a moisture barrier to prevent leaking and the back of the glove has to be able to withstand more heat. It has to be puncture and abrasive resistant as well. The testing is quite severe. They are also put in liquids, chemicals and steam.”
    Glove Crafters received their NFPA certification in March and are now able to market their gloves. To help them obtain potential buyers, they are going to the biggest fire safety equipment show in the United States. “The show, which is in Indianapolis, IN, is for manufacturers to meet with distributors to get the product out,” Lance said.
    Page 2 of 3 - The gloves are not only manufactured in Quitman, but use only components made in the United States. “Everything we use to manufacture the glove is made in America,” Pat said.
    “And we make sure to put U.S. made on our labels. We strive to give people a better glove with a better delivery time. With all the components made in the United States, we can ship our gloves out quicker.”
    And Glove Crafters is already looking toward a future that involves growth. They have added an addition on to the building and have the equipment ready to expand the business. “Though we are just now getting to sell our gloves, we have the equipment on had to employ an additional 10-15 people as sales increase,” Lance said. “We originally set a goal to employ 40-50 people.”
    Keith McCurley is the plant manager, Pat McCurley is the ISO manager and head of design.
    Summer Reynolds designed the logo for the company and gloves and works behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly. “Pat and Keith designed the gloves,” Lance said. “You have to know what works together to make all the layers of a glove and they have a lot of experience to draw on and make a great glove.”
    Not only does a great glove design help, but great workers. “There is no possible way you can start a business like this from scratch and be as far along as we are without experienced workers to get you there,” Lance said. “This is their line of work, it’s close to home, it’s what they know how to do and feel comfortable doing. Our employees are very happy.”
    “And yes, we’ve had some stumbling blocks along the way but there was no way we would have been able to bounce back and as quickly as we did without the help of our employees and everyone working as a team,” Pat said.
    Glove Crafters have worked hard over the last year, starting from scratch, to get where they are today. “We have all our ISO and NFPA certifications and quality control in place and now we are starting full production of our line of structural fire fighting gloves,” Keith said.
    “Our designs are totally new and unique to our company,” Lance said. “Our building is new, our equipment is new, we are completely separate from Glove Corp. We did not buy that business and move it. All we did was hire some of the skilled Glove Corp employees.”
    “We look forward to putting out a quality glove made in the United States,” Pat said. “There aren’t many glove manufacturers left in the United States that make this sort of glove. We are excited about this opportunity.”
    Page 3 of 3 - Visit their website www.glovecrafters.com for more information.
     
     
     
     

        calendar