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- Musgrave Pencil Corporation is the only pencil manufacturing unit still left in Shelbyville, Tennessee, a city when known as “Pencil Metropolis.”
- Whilst other organizations in the space folded to levels of competition, Musgrave held on by shifting its aim to producing personalized pencils for stores, school districts, and other models.
- More than 104 many years, Musgrave has employed 1000’s of regional citizens and continued to run as a household enterprise.
- Soon after a 4-7 days closure during the pandemic, the corporation is back up and functioning once more.
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Musgrave Pencil Corporation is just one of the last pencil factories in The united states.
And it can be the only one left in Shelbyville, Tennessee — a town when known as “Pencil Town” for currently being household to a lot more than 50 percent a dozen brands.
Business enterprise Insider Now visited the factory back in March, just before it closed for 4 months due to the fact of lockdown orders. But now it really is open all over again — and just like prior to, it truly is managed to survive.
Due to the fact its founding in 1916, the business has manufactured an approximated 30 billion pencils. Henry Hulan is chairman of Musgrave, as nicely as the grandson of its founder.
“I’ve been coming out in this article for so very long that this is — this is household,” Hulan informed Organization Insider These days.
Above the years, Musgrave has been no stranger to disruption in the current market. When cheaper, imported pencils started hitting the cabinets of US retailers in the 1990s, quite a few pencil companies in the place folded.
“They have been purchased by larger companies and they were moved,” Hulan said. “They’ve all fundamentally disappeared during that time.”
Musgrave held on, pivoting to scaled-down batches of tailored pencils, as an alternative of competing with overseas bulk creation. The company discovered its own market in the business by manufacturing personalised pencils for school districts, shops, inns, and other manufacturers.
“They are every shade in the globe,” Hulan shared. “There are motivational pencils, there are inspirational pencils, there are teacher pencils, there are birthday pencils, there are holiday getaway pencils. You identify it and we have a fashion for that.”
The change in target has referred to as for some new machinery, which personnel Michael Edwin Walker shown for Small business Insider Nowadays.
“This course of action correct right here is a film transfer that we set on the pencil for a designer,” he stated. “You may choose the painted pencils, and put it into this hopper ideal here. And as they appear via this hopper, they go down the rollers. Then they come underneath a rubber transfer dye that says the ‘happy birthday.'”
And the century-old firm has gotten an on line makeover, way too.
“We have set a ton of generation clips on Instagram and Fb, and people just love it,” claimed Hulan. “I necessarily mean, I love it far too. I’ve obtained good friends that say they check Instagram twice a day just to see if one thing is coming up.”
“The pencil-building company continued to thrive less than their management for the reason that they adapted to the situations,” Alben Simmons, president of the Bedford County Historic Culture, told Small business Insider Now.
But Musgrave’s commitment to pencil-generating has usually been about extra than just enterprise.
“The Musgrave relatives grew up below,” Simmons claimed. “They experienced ties all over the neighborhood, they supported the group. They nonetheless assist the group nowadays.”
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About the yrs, the organization has utilized countless numbers of Shelbyville inhabitants.
“My mother, my aunt, my uncle, my spouse — they have all labored below,” explained Walker. “It truly is designed a ton of excellent residing for folks.”
“We like supporting our employees make a dwelling in Shelbyville, and we felt like we owed it to them as significantly as ourselves to continue to be right here and continue to keep the business likely,” Hulan mentioned.
Musgrave Pencil Company reopened on Might four immediately after Tennessee’s keep-at-house order was lifted.
Through its 4-7 days closure, the company was ready to secure quite a few factory employees’ wages and rewards thanks to a Paycheck Security Method financial loan.
Income have fallen throughout the pandemic, with an additional slowdown anticipated as resorts and universities carry on to confront an uncertain long term.