Courtesy of MidWest Quality Gloves
MidWest Quality Gloves
Hand it to Them
The gloves that made MidWest Quality Gloves Inc. famous serve function, not fashion. The Chillicothe-based company is the nation’s largest manufacturer of leather work gloves, and their main customers are practical men. The most popular colors: black and brown.
MidWest started in Wisconsin in the mid-1930s as Mid West Glove Corporation. The company was purchased in 1962 and moved to Missouri. Distribution was confined to regional hardware stores and farm suppliers.
In 1986, President Steve Franke came onboard and became the company’s prime innovator. In an aggressive marketing maneuver, Steve introduced the gloves to retail giants, such as Wal-Mart, Target, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s Home Improvement. He also called for diversification of the product line. The company recently launched the new brand name MidWest Gloves and Gear to reflect its expanded offerings in work and gardening equipment, including boots, rain gear, tools, totes, aprons, visors, and protective glasses.
The company introduces six to 10 new products each year in response to national trends. For example, although yard work traditionally had been regarded as a man’s domain, MidWest was one of the first manufacturers to cater to women, who now constitute the majority of gardeners.
So, MidWest developed narrower work gloves to fit women’s hands. Some feature reinforced tips to protect fingernails. The company also makes lighter-weight gardening gear with women in mind, including a collapsible wheelbarrow with a steel frame and a tear-resistant nylon bin that holds up to one hundred pounds of mulch, soil, or debris.
Other recent innovations include a line for the entire family called Me & My Little Helper Garden Gloves, featuring matching jersey or cowhide gloves for parents and kids. The firm also produces children’s gardening gear featuring cartoon characters, such as Garfield, Scooby-Doo, and SpongeBob SquarePants.
There’s a line of gloves for professional bull riders; a portable four-tiered greenhouse with zippered plastic doors; and Lawn Claws, plastic scoops that strap onto your hands to help you pick up leaves and mulch.
For more information, call 800-821-3028 or visit www.midwestglove.com.