Over the past 4 decades, the manufacturing landscape of the US and particularly, in Maine has been slowly eroded. The story is often the same: A small manufacturer known for quality goods is purchased by an outside party. The business seems good in the transition at first, then the new owners decide to reduce costs by moving manufacturing overseas to Myanmar, the Philippines, Pakistan or somewhere just far away from where the business originated.
Sometimes these businesses succeed, more often they fail. But no matter what happens to those ventures after they move, those businesses have failed the communities that nurtured them into existence. In town after town, factories have been abandoned and towns economically impacted, in some instances, for decades.
Two years ago, I had the opportunity to invest in a small manufacturer named Tempshield. Located in Trenton, Maine, Tempshield invented the cryo-protective glove category with its CryoGlove® and, for the past 40 years, has produced the highest quality extreme cold liquid protection in the World from our factory located there. Our gloves are used today on the decks of aircraft carriers, in the space program and in biological labs around the World. A testament to our quality and consistency, Tempshield’s repeat customers include the CDC, NASA, the US Military and NATO.
When I walked into the Tempshield factory, I knew this was a special Company. The meticulous nature of the manufacturing process and the care with which each glove or apron is produced was immediately obvious. Perfection is the goal at Tempshield and no one is satisfied unless we achieve that level of quality.
In early 2019, we began expanding the business by researching and building the Mainers™ glove. The goal of Mainers™ is to leverage the manufacturing excellence and expertise of our Team in Trenton, by looking at other markets where Tempshield-level quality is lacking and would be welcome. Another goal is to grow our manufacturing base in Trenton.
It has been a long road in terms of development, and I am afraid that we aren’t there yet. While the team was planning to launch our glove on March 15th, the Mainers™ glove is not in a position to launch just yet. As CEO and a devotee of US manufacturing, I have committed to growing the business and delivering the very best quality over the long term. Because after all, we owe it to you, the end-user and every member of our Team to continue to produce the best gloves in the World.
So, we are going to take a few more months and work through a few more editions of prototypes, revisit design choices and build the best winter glove ever made. That is our Quest and we will not be satisfied until we achieve it. We hope you understand.