Moving Into New Markets
Pat, the second oldest brother, moved into the broom and mop industry after his father’s death in 1979. He left a successful computer software and data center business.
“We sold off all the computer and software products, and I devoted myself full time to helping Tim and Jim,” Pat said. “My perspective is that the computer industry was extremely competitive, and when I first started in broom, brush and mop industry it was not nearly as competitive as it is now. I have great respect for our customers and the manufacturers who face the retailers on a daily basis. The retail market – trying to get the business of a Wal-Mart or a Home Depot or a Target – is every bit as competitive as the computer business was when I was in it. We are glad to support our customers in fighting these battles.”
In the late 1980’s, Pat’s division began concentrating on providing mops and mop hardware to the industry.
“Many years ago, just as we sold broomcorn, we also sold all the broom supplies – the wire and the twine, all the things you need to finish making a broom as our customers were making more varied product lines, we had to carry more supplies, and that’s how we got into mop hardware, wet mop hardware, dust mop hardware and dust mop heads, fiberglass handles and other accessories such as lobby dust pans” Pat said.
“In 1987, the first woven mops were to be introduced in the United States. At the time, many of our customers didn’t have a competitive product and they turned to us for help. Subsequently, we patented our first non-woven product. Vining introduced it as the New Wave mop. That got us into rotary die cutting and non-woven technology.
“Because of our previous manufacturing of metal handles, especially being the first manufacturer of 54 and 60-inch metal handles, we were able to take some of the mop hardware pieces that we were selling, and attach them to the metal handles,” Pat said. “A lot of people knew how to drill holes in the wood and add mop hardware, but they didn’t want to invest in the technology to punch the holes in the metal. We are doing a lot of customer manufacturing now, taking metal handles and putting on different mop attachments that we sell anyway. Our capabilities in metal handles bring us a lot of new business. When the opportunity to add fiberglass handles, to offer a third alternative to wood or metal, we didn’t hesitate to jump in and grow this business – to serve the needs of our customers. We were again fortunate to find a terrific domestic manufacturer of fiberglass tubes – over 10 years ago.”
High-speed riveting machines make it far more economical for us to attach hardware to a metal, wood or fiberglass handle. It’s hard for any broom shop that doesn’t do a lot of metal handles to be able to afford a rivet machine. “We succeed only if we can be more efficient and reliable than our customers can be for themselves,” Pat said.
Pat’s mop division was spun off into a separate company, Monahan Partners, owned by Pat and his family, in late 2010. Kevin Monahan is now President of Monahan Partners.