Stand Up, America

It’s obvious that there’s a lot of turmoil going on in America right now. In the past few years, we’ve seen riots over race and officer-involved shootings, an extremely divisive presidential race, and a growing feeling that something’s just not right.

At Backyard Buddy, we’re proud to be a business that is keeping Ohio’s strong manufacturing tradition alive. We’re proud of our commitment to building our lifts and accessories using American-made raw materials assembled by American workers. But what we’re most proud of is what we all are: American.

One of the core, fundamental values of being an American is that we are all responsible to and for our country. We are all in this together. This is our country, and together with our fellow citizens, we will keep her strong and work to solve any problems that we run into along the way. This spirit has kept our country strong even through a Civil War that almost tore us permanently apart, and through all of the ups and downs over the past 240 years. Even though we are facing some tough issues right now, every one of us should be proud to be American, and committed to working together for our future, even if there are many different visions of that future.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels this way. This summer and fall, we’ve seen athletes from the NFL to high school teams, and even American Olympians taking a knee for the national anthem. While we respect everyone’s right to free speech, this is a deliberately disrespectful act and we cannot support those who do it. Our flag and our anthem are symbols of the rights and duties that each and every one of us has as an American, and disrespecting them is disrespecting all of us, especially the veterans who fought and died for everything these symbols stand for.

We understand that the people doing this may feel that they don’t have a voice, but they are wrong. Each of us has a voice. Our collective voice is heard every time we vote. Our individual voices are heard through a free press, and thanks to the internet, everyone can share their opinion with the rest of the country. If we want to commit to deeper change, any one of us can participate in local politics by attending and speaking at local government meetings, or even running for office. In most places, running for local elective office is far easier than people think, and often only requires that you be well-respected in the community.

One of the greatest things about being an American is that each and every one of us has the power to change our country, but none of us can do it alone. We can organize our neighbors to change a neighborhood. We can work with others to change an entire city. A select 44 of us have inspired their peers to be given the honor of helping change the entire country.

Instead of protesting the symbols of our country, those who want to change it the most should celebrate that they are given the opportunity to do just that. No matter how much you disagree with what may be happening, stand tall and proud that you are an American, and that you have the power to create the change you want to see.

Get Out and Vote

This year’s political scene is unprecedented.  No matter which side of the aisle you’re on, it’s been an ugly, heated and tumultuous battle of wits and words.  People are passionate about their candidate and are just as passionate about their disdain for the opponent.  I’ll refrain from expounding on my political views, but what I will do is implore you to get out and vote in November.

The United States of America may just be the world’s oldest continuous democracy; something we should never take for granted.  Voting is a privilege and a right that many Americans fought hard for and struggled to win.  There are people around the world whose voices are never heard; their opinions never known.  Thanks to our soldiers, our freedoms and the democracy we embrace are protected.

Stop and think about this; which would you rather contend with?  You arrive at your polling location, you’re running late for work, only to be met with a very long line and just two poll workers to handle the rush. Or, you live in Afghanistan (you’re already concerned about backlash for simply voting), the line at the polling booth is long, leaving more time for exposure to potential threats, outright danger, or terrorist violence just because you’re trying to cast a vote.  I think I’d rather be late to work.

You get the gist – voting is a privilege.  Honor that privilege.

We live in a free country, so our voices can be heard through the votes we cast.  This is an important way to show support for the issues that matter most to us by helping to elect the representatives who can best implement policies and effect the changes we want to see.

Consider voting a civic duty.  It is one of the most important rights and responsibilities that U.S. citizens have.  Not only it is everyone’s right to vote, it is also everyone’s duty to vote in order to ensure freedom of expression, equality, and well-being of this country we live in.

Be American. Vote.

Said it before; Say it again – Buy American!

As the Presidential campaign heats up, one thing that has been refreshing to hear is both candidates talking about the need for more American jobs, especially in manufacturing. Even Walmart, probably the country’s largest purveyor of foreign-made products, is running an ad talking about their commitment to buying American-made products.

Of course, where the politicians get it wrong is that they think only they have the answer, with some grand plan for bringing jobs back to the USA. While we’re all waiting for those campaign promises to come true, every one of us has a way to bring back good American jobs:

Buy American. Create more jobs

It’s a simple as that. The more American-made products each one of us buys, the stronger our country and its economy will be.

You don’t need to make a radical commitment to only buy American products (and some things, like electronics, are almost impossible to buy from American manufacturers). All you need to do is to get in the habit of checking labels to see where whatever you need is made, and you’ll be surprised what you can find that is still made in the USA.

Lots of clothing, household goods, tools, and other consumer goods are still made right here. If you’re shopping for something a bit bigger and durable, like appliances, machinery, or a car, your odds of finding something made in the USA are even better.

When you vote with your wallet and buy American products, you’re helping your country by keeping our manufacturing capacity strong, helping your countrymen by ensuring that they have good jobs, and helping yourself by buying a superior product.

Right now, American manufacturers that make non-consumer goods and components are thriving because business customers can’t afford to risk buying a cheap foreign product that is likely to break or be out of spec in the first place. Why should consumers settle for any less?

Here at Backyard Buddy, we are proud to be part of our country’s manufacturing base. Our American workers use American steel to produce a high-quality product that our foreign competitors can’t touch, right in the heart of America’s manufacturing belt. Obviously, we’d like you to buy one of our lifts, but our constant refrain of “Buy American” goes way beyond that. Even if you never have any intention of buying one of our lifts, we implore you to buy as many American-made products as you can.

Just like it’s your patriotic duty to vote this November, it’s also your patriotic duty to vote with your wallet in November and all year — Be American. Buy American.
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Backyard Buddy at the Fall Carlisle

Hey, auto fanatics!  If you haven’t ever attended the Fall Carlisle – a collector and classic car swap meet, car corral and auction – make this your year to see what it’s all about; and of course, we invite you to visit Backyard Buddy while you’re there!  The Fall Carlisle takes place in Carlisle, Pennsylvania (just west of Harrisburg) and runs September 28 through October 2, 2016.  (http://www.carlisleevents.com/carlisle-events/carlisle-fall-swap-meet-corral-auction/default.aspx) Did you know that this event “plays host to thousands of collector and classic automotive enthusiasts, who travel the 150-acre Carlisle PA Fairgrounds from all points of the globe to buy, sell and celebrate all things automotive?” This is one of the premiere auto events of the year!

Backyard Buddy has been exhibiting at the Fall Carlisle for years.  We’ve made plenty of friends along the way – whether they’re buying, selling or trading at the Carlisle with total confidence or purchasing a Backyard Buddy automotive lift they can fully trust to use in their home garages or professional shops – we all share in the belief that auto enthusiasts deserve the very best.  If you’ve visited us in the past or this is your first Carlisle experience, come on by and check out our quality-made lifts by Backyard Buddy in section O134-140.

This is a family-friendly destination – plenty of entertainment for everyone to enjoy.  Or maybe this is a “guys only” getaway?  Either way, there’s no shortage of fun to be had!  Tickets run $10 Wednesday through Saturday and $7 on Sunday.  An event pass is only $30.  If you’re planning to make a weekend out of this, there are plenty of lodging options available (http://www.carlisleevents.com/carlisle-events-hotels-and-lodging/default.aspx), but act fast, Carlisle events attract 40,000 to 120,000 visitors on any given weekend!

See you in Carlisle on September 28 – look for the red, white and blue – lifts proudly made in the USA.  Be American and Buy American!

Better Living Through. . . Cranes

Backyard Buddy, crane system, engine hoist

Hoist slides across cross beam and along tracks the length of the lift.

You already know that Backyard Buddy makes the best four-post vehicle lift that money can buy, but did you know that we also make a great crane? We know what you might be thinking, and no, we aren’t trying to break into the construction market, we’re just making it as easy as possible for you to work on your vehicles.

The Backyard Buddy crane is probably the most unique accessory available for a car lift. It turns your lift into a true workhorse, bringing many of the features of a professional restoration shop into your own garage.

Our half-ton rated crane accessory provides two tracks that bolt onto the posts of your Backyard Buddy lift, spanning the long sides, and a cross-member with an attached hoist that slides along the tracks. This allows you to pick up a load no matter where it is positioned on or under the lift. Even more useful, the tracks have extensions that allow you to pick up or put down a load in front of the lift.

If you’ve ever taken a motor out of a car, you’ll know exactly how useful this is. Instead of trying to position a vehicle under the roof beam you’ve got holding your hoist, hoping that you’ve got it perfectly aligned so the motor doesn’t start swinging when you get it out (and if you’ve ever done that, you won’t forget it), gingerly backing the vehicle out with the motor hanging there, then fussing with a motor stand or cradle while you lower the hoist back down, you can simply lift the engine and move it while it hangs in the air.

With our crane, you can easily remove a motor from a car on the lift (and even work on it from below to do so), then gently slide it onto the extensions and put it down in front of the lift, into a truck or trailer, or onto a stand.

Combine the lift with our casters and your life gets even easier, since you’ve now got a rolling crane platform.. Having a mobile crane lets you pick up a motor off of a stand (or out of a truck on your driveway), push it back to wherever you need it, and lower it onto your stand, workbench, or into your vehicle. The crane/caster combo also allows you to pick up a heavy load anywhere that you can roll your Backyard Buddy lift and drop it back off anywhere else you can push your lift. Anyone who has taken 10 trips to move a pallet of parts from a curbside drop-off, or had to find a way to put a piece of heavy equipment into a pickup bed knows how useful this is.

Combining it all, the Backyard Buddy crane attachment allows you to roll a car onto your lift, use the hoist to pull its motor and put it on a stand, then raise the car up on the lift, attach the body to the crane’s rails and cross-member, and then lower the car, lifting the body off the chassis and setting you up for a complete restoration in your own garage. The best part about combining our lifts and a crane is that you can do all this work at whatever height is comfortable for you.

As always, we’re happy to talk to you more about our lifts and accessories, or to show them off in our showroom in Warren, Ohio. Give us a call anytime between 8:30 and 4:30 Eastern at (800) 837-9353.

Being a Target

One of the problems with being at the top of your field is that you end up with a big target on your back. Everyone is aiming to take you down, by any means they can find.

At Backyard Buddy, making the best lifts that money can buy means that we have to constantly deal with detractors who insist that their shoddy, imported product is just as good as ours.

One of our favorite things that they attempt to insult us with is that our lifts are “over engineered.” Mostly, we take issue with the idea that something you literally are trusting your life to should be called “over engineered” as a negative.

Our lifts are built to be incredibly strong and incredibly reliable, and are designed to make failure almost impossible. Our lifts have survived earthquakes with cars on them. Our guiding principle isn’t value engineering or making our lifts just safe enough so that we can avoid lawsuits if they fail while still maximizing our profits. Our guiding principle is producing the best lifts possible. Full stop.

We do things the right way, not the cheap way. Most importantly, we use high-quality, American steel that we know will perform as advertised, not foreign steel that has a low chance of actually being inspected and a high-chance of having air bubbles and impurities in it. We use welded steel and frames to make our platforms, not cold formed or pressed steel. We use full square legs for strength, not formed C-shaped legs for more profits. We use externally routed, high-quality cables so that in the unlikely event they begin to fray our users can see the damage, and not find out about it from a sickening snap and clang of a broken cable hitting steel, or even worse, the crash of a vehicle hitting the ground.

Another thing that our competitors don’t like to mention is that we use American workers who actually care about making great products. Our employees are not moving as fast as they can to put lifts on cargo ships. They’re working as hard as they can to put lifts onto trailers to go down the road or across the country, not across the ocean.

This is not to say that we don’t dish out a little of our own. We’re happy to point out that a lot of our competitors use cheap foreign steel, cheap foreign labor, and cut corners wherever they can. We’re even happy to point out that some of our competitors’ lifts wobble when you push them, even under a load.

Ultimately, we are happy to put our lifts next to any of our competitors’ and have anyone give them a try to see which one they would rather stand beneath with a couple tons of steel above them.

If you’d like to come stand under one of our lifts and try to make it wobble (we’re happy to tell you that you won’t be able to), come visit our factory and showroom in Warren, OH. Give us a call at (800) 837-9353 during business hours and we will answer any questions you might have.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Sadly, many Americans have no idea where the above text comes from.  They are, perhaps, some of the most profound words ever written, from one of the most revolutionary documents ever drafted, which changed the course of American history forever.

Thomas Jefferson had earned a reputation as an eloquent and persuasive voice for the patriotic cause, and he was given the important task of producing a draft of what would become one of the three essential founding documents of our United States government.  Late in the day, on the fourth of July, Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence.

You know at Backyard Buddy, we are extremely proud of our stars and stripes. So light up the night sky! Whether you’re hosting a backyard BBQ, watching a fireworks display, attending a parade, visiting family or throwing back some cold ones, enjoy the long weekend — this is a holiday worth celebrating!

Wave the red, white and blue and tell your kids why we celebrate this momentous day.
Experience the true spirit of the birth of the United States of America. And remember to thank a veteran for the freedoms you enjoy.

Happy 4th of July from Backyard Buddy!

Our Hometown – Warren, Ohio

If you have read more than a couple of our blogs, you know that Backyard Buddy is extremely proud to be a manufacturer of American products made by American workers. You probably won’t be surprised that we’re not only proud of our country, we are all so proud of our city: Warren, Ohio.

Warren is a small city of 41,000 residents in Northeast Ohio, about an hour east of Cleveland, and has a proud industrial history. It was the first city to have electric street lights, thanks to the Packard Electric Company, which also spawned Packard automobiles, one the first major automobile manufacturers in America (our facility is just down the street from their original factory). As its industrial might grew, the city also made steel for thousands of American products for most of the 20th century.

Unfortunately, like so many small industrial cities in the Great Lakes, Warren fell on hard times when the American steel industry collapsed in the face of cheap, foreign steel in the 1970s and 80s. Good jobs became scarce, and many residents either left the city to find their fortune elsewhere, or struggled to find new jobs in the Warren area.

One of the things that we are most proud of at Backyard Buddy is that we’ve worked for almost three decades to stop these losses. We make a quality product using American steel and American workers, making us almost alone in a sea of foreign junk.

Today, Warren is home to many small and midsized businesses like ours, including AVI Foodsystems, a national-level food service and hospitality provider. The National Packard Museum downtown celebrates the city’s important place in the history of the automobile, with more than 30 historic cars, and an archive that is the envy of any Packard enthusiast. For those looking for wings instead of wheels, the Ernie Hall Aviation Museum showcases planes and artifacts from the early days of flight.

Warren has a lively arts scene as well. The city’s Packard Music Hall brings in national acts (did we mention that Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame was born here?), touring theatre productions, and classical and modern performances from Warren Civic Music. If you’d rather hear your music under the stars, the Riverwalk Amphitheatre features a rock and pop concert series every summer. Downtown, the Trumbull art gallery has rotating exhibits of local and national artists.

Warren also has lots to offer outdoor enthusiasts. Mosquito Lake State Park (don’t worry, it’s just a name) is about 15 minutes north of downtown Warren and offers boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and hiking. There are also several public hunting areas less than a half hour drive away.

We should also mention that our showroom is another local attraction where you can check out our impressive quality and features firsthand and talk to our knowledgeable staff. We invite you to come see our products and then spend a day or two taking in all Warren has to offer.

Let’s Make America Great Again

Normally, I wouldn’t dedicate a blog to the U.S. presidential race, but this year we have the choice of someone who isn’t the normal candidate. This year, I ask that you join me in supporting Donald J. Trump, because he is not just another politician, and he is the best candidate that American businesses and workers have had in their corner in years.

It’s no secret that I, along with many other American business owners, have to constantly fight against a tide of cheap, crummy, low-cost foreign products. For most of my adult life, I’ve watched good manufacturing and industrial jobs leave the United States for Mexico, China, and everywhere else but here.

As a patriotic American who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, as someone who loves my country, and as a businessman who is trying to provide for my family and the families of all those who work at Backyard Buddy, it pains me to see good jobs leave the country. Our hometown of Warren, Ohio, like many other small cities and towns across America, has been devastated by the mass exodus of manufacturing jobs over the past 40 years. I’m sick of watching the “American Dream” fight for its life.

For the first time in a long time, I have faith that a presidential candidate will actually live up to his promises. Trump has repeated one simple pledge over and over: to make America great again.

Here at Backyard Buddy, I’ve spent decades doing my small part to keep America strong. To keep good jobs in America. To help my fellow Americans make a decent living while producing an excellent product. To keep good jobs in the Rust Belt. It hasn’t been easy. It seems like every politician for the past two decades has sold out hard-working Americans for international trade and a flood of foreign crap coming to our stores.

Trump is the first presidential candidate in a long time to set himself apart from this tide of globalization that is hurting America. Trump knows that Americans are getting ripped off in trade, watching our hard-earned dollars flowing to Asia and South America. He knows we’re losing millions of jobs and thousands of businesses. He has pledged to help stop this tide by taxing cheap imports, making it less attractive for companies to leave the United States and undercut American wages by hiring people living in poverty in the third world.

Trump will stem the tide of illegal immigrants coming from the Mexican border and taxing our social services while undercutting American workers. He has also pledged to be the greatest job producing president that the country has ever seen, and to develop a tax plan that grows the U.S. economy and trims the debt.

I would urge you to vote Trump even if I only agreed with him on these critical issues that will help American businesses and workers, but I stand with him on so much more. He has pledged to uphold the Second Amendment, to keep our military the strongest in the world, to fix our education system, to stop the flow of illegal drugs coming from over the border, to respect our law enforcement officers, to end the tyranny of political correctness, and to make America a better place however possible.

I ask you as a fellow American, as a small business owner, as a veteran, and as someone trying as hard as he can to provide good jobs for my workers: Vote Trump!!

Thank you,
Larry Gross, Owner, Backyard Buddy

Memorial Day: Honoring & Remembering

If you know Backyard Buddy, you know this company was started by a Marine and a Vietnam veteran who served his country with distinction.  We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, we’re loudly and proudly American, and never miss an opportunity to point out that we make American-made products with American workers.  But none of that would be possible had it not been for the sacrifices made by our military.

As Memorial Day approaches, you’re probably gearing up for a three-day weekend, planning to host cook-outs with family and friends, tinker with home improvement projects, work in the yard, and dream of sleeping in. That all sounds wonderful!  But do you ever give pause for thought as to why we celebrate this day?

Memorial Day was established as a solemn day of remembrance for everyone who has died serving in the United States of America armed forces.  This holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, started after the Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate soldiers who perished.  It wasn’t until after World War II that the holiday gained a stronger following, and it became more commonly referred to as Memorial Day.

After Congress passed a bill called the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” in 1968, designating Memorial Day as the last Monday in May rather than May 30, as it had previously been observed, there was a cultural shift in attitude surrounding the day.  That act, which officially went into effect in 1971, not only declared Memorial Day an official federal holiday, it also guaranteed employees a three-day weekend, marking it as the “unofficial beginning of summer” – mixing solemn reflection with backyard BBQ fun.

All of this isn’t to say you can’t enjoy your Memorial Day weekend; but those military men and women who died fighting for our freedoms deserve to be remembered, as well.

There are a number of ways you and your family can pay tribute and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms you enjoy today:  take advantage of local parades and attend a memorial day service; decorate your yard with flags, and if you have a flag pole, fly the flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time; buy a poppy from a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars; participate in the National Moment of Remembrance (established by Congress) by pausing for one minute, wherever you are at 3:00 pm local time, in an act of national unity; and finally, and perhaps most important, thank a veteran.

While Memorial Day is a time for remembering fallen soldiers, it’s a perfect time to thank the men and women who have served and currently serve our great nation in the armed forces!
All of us at Backyard Buddy deeply appreciate our military service men and women.  Thank you for all you’ve done and all you do to protect our country and our freedoms.  God bless you, and God bless America.