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Spirit Industries

Find plenty to cheer about with fun fan favorites from this creator of a promo icon.

Find plenty to cheer about with fun fan favorites from this creator of a promo icon.

If you could distill America down to just one virtue, it might be inventiveness. You find it when inspiration refuses to be content as merely an idea, and transforms into action. The product that put Montgomery, TX-based supplier Spirit Industries (asi/88740) on the map is a result of just such a process. Conceived in 1977 by high-school teacher Geral Fauss as a cheering tool for his school’s football team, that unmistakable, oversized #1 foam finger soon became omnipresent at countless sporting events thanks to Fauss’ dogged promotion.

Spirit Industries continues to produce that now-iconic giant digit, along with a whole range of foam mitts, hats and headwear, in a factory about 45 miles north of Houston. The commitment to working hard to see an idea through is still there, too. “We feel there is no one in the industry that can match our creativity, quality, turnaround time and value,” says Deryl Fauss, the vice president of sales and marketing and the founder’s son.

Those commitments are anchored in the values that have driven American success stories since the beginning. Fauss credits “honesty, responsibility, hard work and loyalty” as the typically American qualities behind Spirit’s success. “At Spirit, we hold these values close and produce our products keeping them in mind,” he says.

“We purchase raw material through vendors that hold these beliefs, and we purchase American-made when at all possible. We produce and print our products with them in mind as well, and we do it domestically and plan to keep doing so.”

“We feel there is no one in the industry that can match our creativity, quality, turnaround time and value.”

–Deryl Fauss, Spirit Industries (asi/88740)

Foam isn’t all Spirit does, but it’s what the supplier does like no one else. “Our main specialty is foam,” says Fauss. “We use it as our medium to create everything from foam #1 hands and mitts to foam hats and headwear.” Among that entire range of sports promos and cheering accessories, however, one stands out. “Our number-one seller is still the Foam #1 Fingers,” confirms Fauss. “It’s an item that stands the test of time.” It certainly seems to reflect a distinctly American attitude toward competition. “Everyone wants to be number one,” Fauss says, “be it in sports or in business. Everyone wants to be the best at whatever they do.”

Spirit Industries can claim to be #1 Finger-worthy when it comes to creating unique promotions and sustaining the family’s business for over 35 years, through two generations and thousands of foam fingers. “We are proud of our country and proud to be an American-owned family-run business,” Fauss says. “I feel that good old American ingenuity and our core values have played a major role in making this country thrive.” If there’s a doubt that those values still hold sway the way they once did, try looking for them in an obvious place like Texas, or an unlikely one like a comically brash, giant foam finger.