Toledo Company Is Last U.S. Producer of Metal Fence Posts
Toledo, Ohio – The only remaining American manufacturer of metal fence posts hosted Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney today in Toledo.
Romney’s visit to American Posts, LLC, came on the heels of the Michigan Republican Primary on Tuesday. He spoke to a crowd of employees and supporters about the need for greater focus on American business in this country.
“American Posts products are made in America by Americans using American steel,” said William Feniger, CEO of American Posts.
When Feniger and his son, David, founded American Posts in 2005, there were a handful of other domestic competitors. Today, American Posts is the only U.S. company left producing the U-channel metal fence posts used by homeowners, farmers, landscapers, contractors and the U.S. military.
“I believe American-made stands for something we can take pride in,” William Feniger said. “We have about 20 percent of the metal fence post market in this country. We are proving that we can be more efficient than our Chinese competitors and keep Americans working. With the momentum we’re generating, we’re projecting moving from just short of 20 percent share of the U.S. market to 40 percent in the next few years,” William Feniger said.
Two things have enabled American Posts to be competitive. Shortly after moving a small company from West Virginia to Toledo in 2005, the Fenigers worked with a local machine-building company to create a highly automated production line. American Posts’ line forms the entire post automatically, instead of through four separate manufacturing functions that have been used historically here and abroad.
When it manufactured posts manually, American Posts could make 2,000 posts per day, averaging 500,000 posts per year. With its automated production line, the company can make up to 15,000 posts in a single shift. Currently, its annual production is approximately six million posts.
“In the past few years, American Posts has doubled its production annually,” William Feniger said.
Additionally, American Posts uses just-in-time, drop shipping to service its customers. Off-shore manufacturers require long lead times and large orders. American Posts’ production and shipping approaches are faster and less expensive.
American Posts employs 25 to 30 people at the height of its manufacturing season.
The company’s retail customer base consists of “big-box” stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards and Ace Hardware. In the last 18 months, American Posts has fulfilled several contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense covering bases both here and abroad.
American Posts, LLC, is a fully-owned subsidiary of Toledo’s Universal Metals, LLC, a steel distributor and service center, which is owned and managed by a seasoned team of steel industry veterans. The Feniger family has been in the steel industry for three generations in the Toledo area.