Made in the USA.
More than five million businesses across the U.S. are run by American families, according to Family Enterprise USA, like Shane and Justis Henderson of Metal of Art Wisconsin. The father-son entrepreneur duo tout their love of country through a customized collection of products that are handmade and 100% American made. Their story started six years ago in a small-town garage when they created a product that went viral.
“Doing father and son stuff with him (Justis) in the garage; I bought a CNC plasma table and we started cutting patriotic stuff, like metal flags and stuff like that. This was when Instagram first came out, you know, Instagram was pretty new. I started an Instagram page and we posted some of our flags online and they went absolutely viral. I mean overnight,” Shane Henderson explained.
What started as a father-son project, propelled the small business to instant success with thousands of metal flags sold and bragging rights as the largest “metal art” Instagram page on planet earth, according to the company website. But, it also left him facing a dilemma to address the growth Metal Art of Wisconsin faced. He needed a strategy to support the momentum.
He purchased a shop, hired a few employees, and got to work producing a range of designs with patriotism serving as the centerpiece of his creations. By 2016, the brand exploded during the presidential election and Henderson had to expand operations further, part of which included giving back.
The son of a Vietnam veteran, Henderson’s priority is on supporting military members and first responders. He created Flags for Fortitude, a division of Metal of Art Wisconsin, in 2017. The program donates patriotic flags to veterans, current-serving military, families of the fallen or injured, law enforcement, firefighters, EMT’s, medical personnel and “any other hero who has displayed fortitude when protecting or helping others.”
Nominations for the program are reviewed weekly and can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should include a short description of what your hero did or does on a daily basis.
Earlier this year, Metal of Art Wisconsin won the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award for the Manitowoc County’s Progress Lakeshore 2019 Economic Development Program. The company’s progression as a small business and the positive impact it has caught more than just the eyes of the local officials, even Donald Trump Jr. wanted one.