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Supplier Celebrates 50 Years
Supplier firm celebrates 50 years by contributing to Habitat for Humanity.
If you had asked John Fey how he was making his living in 1965, his answer would inevitably have included mention of bylines, datelines and deadlines at the Edgerton Enterprise newspaper in Edgerton, MN, where he was editor-in-chief. But his journalistic aspirations went on permanent hiatus with the purchase of radio frequency heat sealing equipment, which allowed him to weld plastic. With his new toys, he was off to the races, founding a company he initially called Fey Printing and Plastics. Among the first items he produced were vinyl money wallets for Brown & Bigelow (asi/148500), followed by vinyl calendars, ring binders and policy wallets.
“The region from Minneapolis to Chicago used to be called ‘The Printing Belt’, because so many specialty advertising firms started there,” says Mike Fey, today the president and CEO of Fey Industries. “This was part of what drew my grandfather into the advertising specialty industry, which was very different back then. In the 1960s, there was real differentiation, from business products, to writing instruments, to drinkware, with little overlap among suppliers. We continue to offer quality products at a fair price with friendly Midwestern values, and do a lot of our own manufacturing with equipment we’ve designed and built ourselves.”
These days, Mike Fey leads the day-to-day operations, and his father Norm, who officially retired from the company in 2004, still participates in meetings on automation technology. Fifty years after it was established, Fey Industries, known as Fey Promotional Products Group (asi/54040) in the ad specialty industry, has a diverse product selection that recently expanded with the acquisitions of the Reflectix (asi/81233) and Mi Line/Molenaar (asi/71032) product lines.
From the beginning, the company has focused on employment for local residents that allows them to spend time with families. “Our company vision still maintains ties to our roots,” says Mike Fey. “We’ve always striven to be a financially strong company that provides a best-in-class experience for our clients, while also providing meaningful work to our team members and encouraging family values.”
The working environment is further bolstered by the twin pillars of employee recognition and respect. For example, to celebrate years of service, management welcomes those employees who’ve been with the company for at least 25 years to “Club Twenty-Feyve.” “The total years of service of this year’s group came to 782,” says Fey. “We want each person to find fulfillment at work. We want our efforts to be a bright spot in people’s lives that can then have a positive impact on the world around us, and we believe an environment of appreciation and fulfillment certainly has a positive impact on retention and attendance.”
When it came time to celebrate 50 years in business this year, it was inevitable that Fey Industries would spend time recognizing its employees while also giving back to the larger community. Each staff member received a T-shirt and sports bottle imprinted with the ‘Fey Playbook’ listing the company’s purpose, vision and values, and was also asked to team up with Southwest Minnesota Habitat for Humanity (HFH) in an effort to give back to the surrounding rural community currently suffering from a lack of housing.
The company co-hosted a BBQ cook-off fundraiser with HFH and encouraged vendors to make a donation to the nonprofit rather than spending money to travel to attend the celebration. Once the project reaches the build stage, adds Fey, employees will be encouraged to help with construction during the normal work day, at full pay.
“It’s a small effort to be good stewards within our community,” Fey says, “and to open up opportunities for our associates to be involved with a good cause.”