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Portersville company produces more than 100 million clips for light displays

| Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Bill Adams, Owner of Adams Manufacturing of Portersville, which manufactures outdoor resin furniture and plastic hooks used for indoor and outdoor decorating for the holidays.
The Adams Manufacturing, based in Portersville, has manufactured more than 100 million plastic hooks to be ready for this season’s holiday decorating. The light holders are marketed mainly to professional decorators and are used to hold up lights and other seasonal items for display.

From the graphics on the sides of its tractor-trailers to the stickers and emblems stamped on the array of injection-molded products it produces, the slogan “Made in the USA” has become synonymous with Adams Manufacturing.

For company owner Bill Adams, Made in the USA means made in Portersville.

“When we started out in the early 1980s making suction cups, we hired local people to put in the hooks that go into the cups,” said Adams, 68. “As the company grew, it never seemed right that we should move out of the area and take those jobs with us. We have a certain sense of loyalty to our employees because they have been loyal to us.”

The latest product being turned out of the company's 124,000-square-foot plant is an all-purpose Christmas light holder engineered to be half the size of other clips but twice as functional.

The clips, which are being marketed primarily to commercial holiday decorators, work with a variety of lights and attach easily to roof edges and gutters, including those with leaf guards, according to Dan Stainer, the company's marketing director.

For this year's holiday season, the company manufactured more than 100 million clips, Stainer said.

The company Adams started with a $10,000 inheritance and grew by peddling suction cups out of the back of his 1976 Chevy Chevette now employees 275 workers and does more than $50 million a year of business.

In addition to the suction cups used to hang window signs and holiday wreaths, the company's product line has grown to include plastic products such as hangers, fasteners and outdoor furniture, such as Adirondack chairs a multiple colors.

Last year, the company added a stackable, bar stool with an ergo-dynamic design that relieves the typical pressure placed on the iliac and coccyx bones.

“For us, the Made in America motto also means American ingenuity,” Adams said. “To successfully compete with cheaper products made overseas, we have to add real value by making ours better. So we're constantly looking for new products or innovative ways to improve existing ones.”

A native of Rockford, Ill., Adams was stationed in the Pittsburgh area, where he met his wife Eileen of Baldwin Borough, before shipping out to serve in the Vietnam War in 1968. When he returned, the couple moved to Butler County “because we wanted to build a solar-heated house but didn't want to deal with the regulations we would have faced if we built in the city.”

Butler County Commissioner William L. McCarrier said employers such as Adams are critical to the county's economy.

“Whether it's a farmer growing a product from seeds or a plastics company that takes raw material and creates a finished product, manufacturing is the basis of a strong economy because it creates real wealth,” McCarrier said.

“So we definitely appreciate the faithfulness Bill Adams has shown to this county.”

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or

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