Our CEO’s Response To Doing Business In China

Last week, I was in China visiting three of the plants that manufacture equipment for Eagle Equipment and Tools USA. A picture of my visit to one of the plants was posted on facebook. We were immediately inundated with comments that were ugly, obscene, and questioned my patriotism. This is in response to those comments.

My family roots in this country can be traced back to the 1600’s, before there was a United States. My ancestors fought the British in South Carolina during the American Revolution. My family served and died for both sides in the Civil War. And I have had relatives serve our country in every war from WWI to Afghanistan and Iraq. My father and his father were lifelong members of the machinists union (AFL/CIO) in the airline industry. My mother’s father played football for the University of Alabama in 1917 and 1919 (no team in 1918 because of the war). My son spent ten years as an officer in the US Army, serving in Kosovo, Iraq, and Korea.

I love my country and I am proud of my family’s American Heritage and my lineage.

Ten years ago, Standard Tools manufactured all of our products in the United States. We paid above average wages and provided good benefits to our workers. Gradually over the years, we became less competitive because we could not compete with imported products. Like the textile and furniture industries before us, the automotive equipment industry was being off-shored in search of cheaper labor.

Faced with a choice of importing products or shutting down a portion of our business, I elected to bring equipment in from overseas. We spent two years selecting vendors that could and would produce equipment that met our rigid standards of quality and safety. We continue to monitor the development and production of our foreign made products. We maintain a presence inside the manufacturing plants that work for us. I can assure our customers that the quality of production in our plants equals or exceeds the quality of most American manufacturers.

While I wish that we could build these products in this country competitively, the reality is that we can’t. And sadly, the American buying public doesn’t care. We still offer American made lifts. Last year, only 13 people were willing to pay for an American made Eagle lift. 13! Like all of the other lift and frame machine manufacturers and distributors, we are forced to give the people what they want, an inexpensive product. I see our goal as providing the highest quality imported product and a competitive price.

Now let me share my final thoughts on this subject. There are currently 50 employees and their families here in North Carolina that depend on Standard Tools for their livelihood. They come from all over: Rick and Terri are from Pittsburgh. Bill is from Chicago. Phil and Jennifer are from Long Island. Carmen is from Miami. Her parents fled Cuba to escape communism under Castro. Bam, Dhuen, and Soh are Monteynards from Vietnam. They are refugees from the internment camps set up by the Vietnamese following the fall of South Vietnam. Rada is from Bosnia. He fled from the civil war in his homeland in the Balkans. All are Americans and all love their country dearly.

We are a great nation and we will continue to grow and prosper. However, in the new global economy, we must work with other peoples and nations to achieve prosperity. The world seems to have gotten smaller in my 60+ years but not more understanding. There is still no place for ignorance and bigotry. It is easy to blame our problems on foreigners, including the Chinese factory worker. The truth is that it is not their fault. They are just like us, people that love their families and are working hard to provide for them. We just come from different places.

Michael Kestler, CEO
Standard Tools and Equipment Co.

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Standard Tools and Equipment Co. to be Featured on the “World’s Greatest…” Television Production

NEWS RELEASE

<May 18, 2011><Greensboro, N.C.>
Standard Tools and Equipment Co, a trusted manufacturer in the automotive aftermarket industry, announced today that they have been selected by How 2 Media to be a part of the popular television series, “World’s Greatest …”, featuring their paint booths. The show airs on the ION Network.

The company goes to market as Tools USA, Eagle Equipment and paint-booths.com, to sell hundreds of products through their mail-order catalog and their various Web sites. Products include auto lifts, frame machines, pulling posts and clamps, tire equipment, powder coating equipment and, or course, their paint booths. Continue reading

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Up, Up and Away

The 5th Dimenstion

Pop group The 5th Dimension had a hit song in late 1960’s called Up, Up and Away.  It was an upbeat, feel-good song that was about riding in a hot-air balloon.  It was played over and over on AM radio stations around the country and won a Grammy in 1968.

Today, the idea of “up, up and away” defines the costs of materials.  We have all been shocked by recent increases in fuel prices, but steel prices have risen more dramatically in the same timeframe.  In 18 months, gas prices rose from $2.50 to $3.50 per gallon… a 40% increase. In the same timeframe, steel prices increased by 65%.  This increase can be attributed to the rising fuel costs, increasing global demand and negative influences in supplies.  One such negative factor was the torrential rains and flooding in Australia that filled coke mines.  This coke is deemed the best in the world for smelting the high-tech steel ores used today. Continue reading

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ETL Certified

Written by: Andy Turner
Sales Manager, Eagle Equipment

Standard Tools and Equipment, the parent company of Tools USA and Eagle Equipment, proudly bares the ETL Mark on many of our standard paint booths. The ETL Mark is the fastest growing product safety certification mark in North America. A product bearing the ETL Listed Mark is determined to have met the minimum requirements of prescribed product safety standards from Intertek, a third-party testing firm that has been around since the 1880’s and is the leader in spray booth certification. Continue reading

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Welcome to the Standard Tools & Equipment Blog

Standard Tools and Equipment Co., operating as Tools USA and Eagle Equipment, is a trusted leader in the automotive aftermarket industry. Through their mail-order catalog and Web sites, they market hundreds of their manufactured products including frame machines, pulling posts and clamps, paint booths, truck paint booths and powder coating equipment.  Eagle Equipment is an internationally known supplier of automotive lifts and wheel service equipment.

The company has been recognized as one of Google’s “One Million Visitors” Web site as well as one of the Top 500 Online Retailers by Internet Retailer Magazine.

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