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  • Memories of My Youth

    Posted on April 21st, 2011 Michael No comments

    I was contacted the other day by Sean Bandawat, President of Jacob Bromwell Inc., about featuring his company in a post.  Before I responded, I did some research on the company to see if they were a company I would like to feature.  I was not disappointed by my search; Jacob Bromwell Inc. is an ideal company to feature, on this site, for many reasons.  They manufacture all their products in the USA and are the oldest house wares company in North America.  All I needed was something to write about.

    There are many other sites that are aggregators of “Made in USA” products and companies.  My goal is different, I want to highlight a company and one or more issues concerning manufacturing and/or why manufacturing is so important to our economy.  So I replied to Mr. Bandawat with about a dozen questions covering basic company information, how they handled the recession, and other questions designed to get a handle on the challenges of being a manufacturer in the United States.

    Mr. Bandawat responded quickly to my email with two attachments, so I could get started, and an indication that he would answer my questions in more detail a few days later.  This gave me some time to re-read the press release and scan the company’s website again.

    As I was going through the website, I came across a campfire popcorn popper.  I was instantly struck by the fact that it looked exactly how I remember the popcorn popper my father use to use in the fireplace when I was growing up.  I am not saying that it was a Jacob Bromwell popcorn popper, but I would not be surprised if it was.  In any case, I started reminiscing about my youth and the great fun we had popping the popcorn and having some real nice family time.  Then I remember a quote from what Mr. Bandawat sent me, “what we’re really selling is an emotional journey: away from the madness of modern life and into nostalgia, tradition, and the longing for a simpler era.”  I agree with Mr. Bandawat on this point, as a kid I looked forward to those weekend evenings when my dad did not have to work.  We turned off the television and, as a family, had freshly made popcorn by the fireplace. 

    I then decided to see what other popcorn poppers were on the market and I found a wide range of styles and prices.   I found that there were some copycat products and other design types.  It is interesting to point out that one of the round poppers was advertising that they had just redesigned their product. 

    I think it is great that a company such as Jacob Browell Inc. has such a wonderful American history and can easily invoke a nostalgia that very few companies can, but nostalgia only goes so far.  At some point, the comparative costs of the products come into the equation.  That is if all else is equal.  This leads me to another excerpt from what Mr. Bandawat sent me; “Jacob Bromwell manufactures all its products in the USA using American workers who take pride in their craftsmanship.  Management will not outsource production to low-wage labor countries to reduce costs because it has faith in the creativity and productivity of American workers.”   The company also takes pride in using the same manufacturing processes used almost two hundred years ago. 

    In an age where companies work to reduce the cost of production down to a point where the product quality is “just good enough”, Jacob Bromwell is making products at a level not found, at many other companies, for a generation or two.  When the company was first founded their products were made to last forever, and the same is true today.   That fireplace popcorn popper my family used for my entire childhood never broke or had to be replaced.  It would be still in use today if I had the foresight to take it when my parents sold their house.  I looked at other campfire popcorn poppers and it is evident that a majority would probably only last a couple of seasons at best.  The distinct quality advantage for the Jacob Bromwell product is apparent.   

    One of the questions I asked Mr. Bandawat was, “what one or two products are a must have and why?”  His answer was the following; “Our two products with the most historical significance are the Original Popcorn Popper and All-American Flour Sifter.  Jacob Bromwell held the original patents on both of these products for years and they were proudly invented and build right here in the USA for years.  Still today, we make them the same exact way, on the same original machinery, as they were made nearly 200 years ago.  These products are staples of American households and folks can’t seem to get enough.” When I read the answer I realized that my family also had a flour sifter.  My mother loved to bake, and I remember helping her sift cups and cups of flour until my forearms ached.  Yet another quality, old style product that never broke, even under heavy use.

    One of the best lessons my father taught me was that quality matters.  If you plan on using something over time, it should be built to stand the test of time.  In the case of the Jacob Bromwell Inc., their quality products have helped make wonderful, lifelong memories for many people.  With the help of a truly American company such as Jacob Bromwell Inc., when you are sitting at a fireplace or campfire with your family popping popcorn, or baking a cake with your kids, you can make your own wonderful memories.

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