Production of the original Don Featherstone plastic pink flamingo is coming back to roost in central Massachusetts.
They're back and I'm tickled pink by it, Featherstone said in a recent telephone interview.
Cado Products Inc. of Fitchburg, Mass., purchased the intellectual property rights to the pink flamingo, as well as more than 200 blow molds and injection molds that had once been used by Union Products Inc.
Cado is forming its own Union Products Division, and will roll out the new product line at the National Hardware Show, set for May 4-6 in Las Vegas.
It is a tremendous opportunity for us. It is a perfect fit for our company, said Bruce Zarozny, president and co-owner of Cado.
He said Cado had produced the flamingo for the last owner of the line HMC International LLC of Rome, N.Y. before it moved production to New York.
The pink flamingo was once made by Union Products in Leominster, Mass., which borders Fitchburg. It started production in 1957 after the company hired designer Featherstone, who is from Fitchburg. The bird was injected molded at first, but later was made by blow molding.
Union Products folded in 2006 and the intellectual property and molds for the product were sold to HMC in May 2007.
The flamingos then were marketed by Faster-Form Corp. Later that year, Faster-Form officials said they were shocked when the firm's owner, John Waszkiewicz III, died unexpectedly.
Cado Products, owned by Zarozny and Vice President Claude Chapdelaine, pursued the Union Products line and reached an agreement with HMC and Faster-Form early this year. Cado is selling the inventory and is still moving some of the equipment from New York to Fitchburg.
The Union Products line will include the signature flamingo and water cans and bird baths.
Zarozny said his company has been around for 50 years and serves diverse markets, from sporting goods to chemical and military. The firm already has some retail accounts, and Cado plans to promote the line. It has arrangements with Aubuchon Hardware and Ace Hardware, as well as some distributors.
The company has also lined up the Featherstones husband and wife Don and Nancy to help with marketing.
Cado Products operates out of two buildings totaling about 85,000 square feet and may add space, Zarozny said. The firm has already added five employees, bringing its current total to 30.
There's still plenty of work to do to rebuild the Union Products line, but it just makes sense for us to bring it into the fold, he said.
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