Malco Products, SBC, got its start in 1950 when Mark W. Keymer, a young steel supply salesman, decided to manufacture and market a pipe crimper he had invented for installing the “new” sheet metal ductwork used in forced air heating systems. Today, the legacy of that exciting start-up company lives on and the early Malco tools have since been joined by hundreds of other specialty products.
Malco is dedicated to producing innovative, dependable, and high-performance hand tools at our corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility in Annandale, Minnesota.
This dedication to craftsmanship is why Malco is one of the nation’s leading solution developers and manufacturers of “tools of the trade” for HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning), exterior remodeling, and fence and rail installation professionals.
Malco continues building its success around service to the trades and a steady stream of new and exciting labor-saving tool designs that address an ever-changing industry landscape and respond to emerging market needs for new specializations and more customized products and services for the end-user. Our employee-owners are committed to producing tools of lasting quality and performance that promote on-the-job safety and health for hands-on pros who have come to rely on the trusted Malco brand.
The origin of the Malco name came from combining Mark’s first name and the first name of an early associate named Al, who owned the garage where initial operations began. Malco stood for “Mark and Al’s Company.”
Operations move from Al’s garage to Mark’s basement, with Al leaving the company. Malco’s first business office consisted of the kitchen table, a shoebox filing system, and a manual typewriter. With advertisements in the American Artisan and Snips Magazine to generate national business, Mark had help from his wife Dorothy to keep the books and proceeded to hire his first employee and independent sales rep.
The first one-page Malco catalog featured a 5-Blade Crimper, Hand Seamer, Scratch Awls, and other tools.
The 60s were comprised of continued company growth, personally training sales reps, new product development/updates, and ramping up trade show attendance.
Malco’s sales rep force, an essential link to wholesale distribution, grows to provide national coverage. Mark started hosting educational “Tool School” sessions to enhance product knowledge and high customer service standards.
To further enhance user efficiency and control, sleek vinyl grips were added to existing compound leverage tools.
Malco maintains a strong industry presence and image at key trade shows.
The 70s included the big move to Annandale, MN, which is where the current U.S. Malco headquarters is located, as well as entering a new product market, releasing Zip-in® Screws, and experiencing a shift in leadership.
The first skin carding line begins operation in the Packaging Department. The peggable packaging was designed to enhance product visibility, enabling wholesale distributors to have more effective merchandising.
A new CAD/CAM computer system transforms designs into small quantities of manufactured products in a fraction of the time compared to large scale production. This laid the groundwork for an efficient product development process to be used for years to come.
Malco implements Uniform Product Codes (UPC) on individual sale items to allow for timely and accessible inventory status reports, streamlined shipping/receiving operations, and reduced clerical errors. Barcoding was no longer a wave of the future; it was here to stay.
A formal Product Development Process results in a record number of new product introductions. For one 14-month period from March 1996 to May 1997, more than one product was introduced per month. New releases at the time include Malco’s Offset Pipe Crimper, 9-in Seamer, and J-Channel Cutter, to name a few.
In 1997, the Malco website launched in the height of the World Wide Web.
Demand for Max2000® Classic Aviation Snips creates waiting lists at dealers. It was a highly anticipated solution in response to widespread dissatisfaction with the aviation snip category at the time. The BEAST Shingle Remover, One Inch Notcher, and Sider® tool are also released.
Malco entered the 21st century with breakthrough innovation and student recognition. This decade features the release of the original TurboShear® drill attachment that sparked the development of other power-assisted tools, the creation of ergonomic Redline® Handles, the introduction of the “Head of the Class” Program, and much more.
With the addition of metal brackets for simplified one-handed use and hardened carbon steel blades that offer up to 18-gauge steel cutting capacity, the TurboShear® Heavy Duty Sheet Metal Cutting Tool Attachment is born.
Malco releases tools with Redline® Handles, which offer non-slip handle grip contours, spring handle actuation, and a thumb-operated handle latch for a natural fit and one-handed operation. These comfortable, ergonomic handles help to prevent user discomfort, fatigue, and risk of injury, making jobs safer and easier to complete than ever before.
This recent decade encompassed a new market venture, exciting product updates/releases, enhanced sustainability initiatives, majority employee ownership, company awards, and significant employee anniversaries.
Malco sustainability efforts continue with using recycled PET plastic vs. PVC for clamshell packaging, as well as recyclable paper and no adhesive, so that the plastic and paper cleanly separate for recycling. Our employees are utilizing less fax and more emails for orders. Virtually all non-organic waste and scrap generated at the Annandale plant is recycled, in addition to fluorescent lighting being replaced with energy-efficient and longer-lasting LED lighting.
A 360° rotating head and adjustable drill clamp are integrated into various power-assisted tools. The clamp collar allows the head to be set in any position for ideal tool clearance when navigating profiles or to facilitate easy material flow.
Malco’s ESOP purchases majority ownership, promoting greater company transparency among employee-owners. Malco operates open book financials so that everyone knows where the company stands, where the company wants to be, and what everyone needs to do to meet their goals.
Malco introduces a lightweight and powerful impact driver attachment called the TurboCrimper® Impact. Based on actual field trials, the C5A2 model operates 78% faster than a manual sheet metal crimper. The Writable Measuring Tape with Magnetic Tip, 4IN1 Nut Driver, and first-of-its-kind Conformable Sander are also released this year.
Malco introduces an exclusive, dual-sided 1/4 in. and 5/16 in. C-RHEX® Cleanable, Reversible Magnetic Hex Driver with 2 in. length that rapidly becomes a best-selling tool in the HVAC market.
Malco is awarded as an Outstanding Disability Employer by the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation and is named the High Economic Vitality Business of the Year by the Wright County Minnesota Economic Development Partnership.
The Trade-Pro of the Year award began in 2017 as a way for Malco to shine some much-deserved light and recognition on hard-working HVAC professionals who represent the industry in the best possible way.
Malco celebrates their many years of innovation and growth during their 70th year anniversary. Malco gained various awards during this year: ACHR News 2020 Dealer Design Awards for Malco’s C-RHEX®, 2020 All-Star Company by the Great Game of Business®, and Outstanding Achievement Award from the Minnesota Safety Council. In addition, Malco introduced the Jeannette Rieger Borer Scholarship, named after one of their long-term associates who served many years on the local towns Annandale School Board.
Malco continues to innovate its popular C-Rhex products by introducing a slimmer head.
Malco’s new president Rich Benninghoff assumes the role of President, following the retirement announcement of Mardon Quandt, who has served as Malco’s President since 2013.
RECOGNITION AND AWARDS
Malco Products is always honored to receive recognition and awards. Being recognized makes us proud of our team’s hard work, and it’s the knowledge that our customers are happy and satisfied with our products that gives us the most gratification. Some of the recent honors that we have received include:
C-RHEX SAWTOOTH earned a 2022 Pro Tool Innovation Award in the Accessories – Specialty Driver Bits category
Awarded a 2022 Manufacturing Excellence Award for New Approaches from Twin Cities Business Magazine
High Economic Vitality Business of the Year for 2017 by the Wright County Minnesota Economic Development Partnership.
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ABOUT OUR OPERATIONS
We are proud of our commitment to American manufacturing and to the products we produce at our plant in Annandale, Minnesota. You can rest assured that any Malco tools marked with the “Made in the USA” label meet the rigorous standard for being labeled as such.
You will notice that a select number of the products we sell are manufactured outside of the United States. Although these products are not made in the U.S., you can rest assured that the Malco team designed the product to our exacting standards, and it is being manufactured by trusted partners who meet our rigorous and high standards of quality.
We manufacture as many products as we can at our facility in Annandale, Minnesota with our team of 160 associates on two shifts. Additionally, several of the products we offer are made in the USA by other American manufacturers.
We have made significant investments into our Annandale facility, as we plan to keep production based here for many decades to come.
We are also very proud to be an employee-owned Specific Benefit Corporation (SBC), a legal designation that indicates that a specific social benefit — employee ownership, keeping jobs local and strengthening communities — is the primary driver of Malco’s business decisions.
The short answer is because we don’t have the in-house capabilities to produce those products at the highest standard of quality and at the volume we require.
We vet and select our international manufacturing partners closely to ensure that the products coming off the line internationally meet our rigorous standards – and the standards of the trade pros who use them day in and day out.
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