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Made in Michigan: Howard Miller clocks

7:52 PM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
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Howard Miller clocks

ZEELAND, Mich. (WZZM) - Zeeland-based Howard Miller has been making a timeless device for decades. The clock-making company has been in business since the 1920s and its still family owned and operated.

"In many respects, a grandfather clock becomes a member of the family," says Mike Wallace, Vice President of Manufacturing for Howard Miller. "We know they're going to be passed from generation to generation."

It's a family gift, just like the Zeeland-based company itself.

"Our CEO is Buzz Miller, the grandson of Howard Miller," says Wallace.   Wallace says each generation is equally committed to Michigan.   "Since founded in 1926, it (Howard Miller) has produced over 14 million clocks from this facility," says Wallace.

The clocks are made from scratch, with help from a machine called a CNC Router.

"We begin the process with rough lumber coming through the door," says Wallace. "It goes through the assembly operation, a finishing operation, then we install the glass."

Some of the other parts are made in Traverse City, such as dials and pendulums.

"At one time we produced it in Germany, now we produce those in Michigan, so we have strong ties to michigan, the families tied to Michigan," says Wallace.

However, Wallace acknowledges that in today's world of advanced technology, there are endless ways to check the time.

"Very few people wear a wrist watch anymore, so its more than about telling time," says Wallace.

Wallace says the company is hiring more people, with more than 300 employees already at the company. Wallace asked one of his employees what kept her at Howard Miller for 40 years, and she replied, " The benefits and the people."

"I like the company, the people I work with, it's a great place to work," says Daniel Donaldson, another employee.

The clocks are sent around the world, from Canada to Mexico, Europe, and even China.

"Some people would find it hard to believe we export to China, there's a high demand for our products in Asia," says Wallace.

However, Wallace says home will always be Michigan.

"We plan to be here as long as our company exists, which is easy to say its forever," says Wallace.

Howard Miller executives say the grandfather clocks range in price from $1,000 to $15,000.

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