Tag Archives: Made in the U.S.A.

Racing Time

One of our favorite parts of summer is laying on the couch on a warm Sunday and dozing off to the roar of the engines and the excitement in Darrell Waltrip’s voice with NASCAR on the TV. Somehow, we always end up dreaming about racing one of our own cars.

If you’ve ever had the same dream and want to do something about it, there are a lot of ways for you to test your mettle behind the wheel, no matter what you drive.

The easiest way to start is to find a local autocross event, usually offered under the auspices of the Sports Car Club of America (https://www.scca.com). You’re probably not going to be competitive in a bone stock Cruz, but if you’ve got a valid driver’s license, a helmet, and are OK risking knocking over some orange cones, you’re good to go. Since you’re only racing against the clock, any danger is minimized, and courses are  usually set up in large, empty parking lots with a big safety margin in mind. All you need to do to get started is find an event near you: https://www.scca.com/pages/find-your-fun.

The best part is that a day of racing is usually around $50, although that may be the most expensive $50 you ever spend, because you’ll want to make some improvements to your car for the next race (or start eying a new Ford Focus RS). Autocross classes run the spectrum from factory stock through various bolt-on modifications, to cars built specifically for autocross, so there is a class to match your level of interest, finances, and skill.

If you like your fun a little more on the dirty side, SCCA also holds timed solo dirt track rallycross racing. Just like in autocross, the tracks are set up on flat ground with safety in mind, and are open to stock daily drivers as well as cars with slight modifications (studded tires, custom suspensions), and custom rally racers.

Once you’ve got a little more confidence, the SCCA also offers head-to-head racing, although this requires a larger investment of time and money. You’ll need to be an SCCA member, pass a physical, and earn a racing license from a certified driver school event. You’ll also need a proper racing suit and other equipment, and will want to bring a friend or two that know how to wrench to be your pit crew. At this point, to be competitive you’ll need a dedicated car that has been modified to meet race rules (available here: https://www.scca.com/pages/cars-and-rules).

SCCA also offers special classes and races for vintage cars, karts (a great way to start kids in racing), and even custom built college team cars, although these can be harder to find.

Of course, if you’re more into pure muscle, there’s also amateur drag racing. You COULD pull up next to someone at a stoplight and give them the traditional rev and nod, but that tends to get expensive once the blue lights start flashing. Instead, if you’ve got a local race track, you’ve probably got an opportunity to see what your car can do in a quarter mile. While there is not a single organizing body like SCCA for drag racing, most local tracks offer an amateur race, and there is almost always an entry class requiring little more than a working seat belt and a helmet.

Since we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t mention it, if you start racing and inevitably need to upgrade your car to compete, don’t forget to upgrade your garage with one of our Backyard Buddy lifts. As always, we are here at (800) 837-9353 from 8:00 to 5:00 Eastern time to help you find the lift that meets your needs. See you on the track!

Support Small Businesses

Backyard Buddy as a small business

Looking around our factory floor and seeing the intricate dance of workers and machines, you may find it hard to think of Backyard Buddy as a small business, but on a global scale — and compared to some of our foreign competitors — we definitely are.

We don’t say this as something we’re in a hurry to change.

Small businesses, which for our sector is those with fewer than 1,500 employees, are one of the largest drivers of the American economy. The economic recovery since 2009 has been almost completely reliant on small businesses, including people who are self-employed. According to the U.S. Small Business Association, businesses like Backyard Buddy, with less than 500 employees, were responsible for 74% of the jobs created since our economic recovery began in 2009.

Unfortunately, you’d never know this unless you dig deep into the media. Most economic reporting focuses on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (mostly made up of the largest companies in the world) and the S&P 500 (made up of 500 large companies). While both of these are showing positive signs, it is companies like Backyard Buddy, and thousands of other small businesses that are quietly driving our recovery, creating jobs, and making sure the American economy stays strong.

Why does this affect you?

If you’re an American, and you’ve got the device and internet connection to read this, you’re part of the American economy. In a very real way the economic growth provided by small businesses is one of the reasons that you have a job (and by the numbers, your job is likely to be at a small business) and can provide for your family. Even if you’re retired and think this doesn’t apply to you, your pension or investments depend on the continued growth of our economy, driven by small business.

If that’s too esoteric for you, consider that small businesses are better for the consumer. In our case, we’re able to make a better product than our competitors because our business model needs to be centered on a quality product and happy customers. We don’t have or want the capacity to make our living on getting junk products out the door as fast as possible.

In addition to a better product, customers get better service at a small business, where the person you’re talking to on the phone or in the store probably has detailed knowledge of the product or service that they sell, and in many cases has made the product themselves. Thanks to the global economy and manufacturers controlling prices of their products, you will often pay the same for something purchased from a local business as you would from a multinational big box chain, and get the added benefit of service, something almost impossible to find in chains.

Still looking for more reasons, maybe something nobler? When you buy from an American small business, your money stays in your country, and in many cases right in your community. Small businesses are also far more likely to then also spend that money in your community, either through paying salaries to local residents, or investing it back into the business. When you buy from a global business, your money almost always leaves the U.S. and far too often ends up in an offshore bank account where it pads the company’s cash reserves or just makes a wealthy person wealthier.

As the holiday season approaches, we ask that you spend your hard-earned money at small businesses to not only give someone in your life a gift, but to give all of us the gift of a strong community, a strong job market, and a strong national economy.

To find small businesses in your community (for everything other than vehicle lifts and accessories, which you know exactly where to find), check out this searchable map from the American Express Shop Small program: https://shopsmallnow.americanexpress.com/shopsmall.

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!

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

Protect Your Car in the Summer

It’s finally spring, and here at Backyard Buddy, we know that means it’s time to get your car out of the garage and go for a cruise. That doesn’t mean you can be totally carefree, however. Even if you would never let your classic vehicle see a salty road in the winter, there are still things to worry about in the spring and summer.

The first thing that everyone worries about is the hot sun beating down on their paint, and for good reason. Your paint takes the brunt of the summer’s abuse, from the sun beating down on it and potentially causing it to fade, to gritty dust acting like sandpaper wherever someone or something rubs up against it (if the neighbor’s kids are writing “wash me” on your window, you should probably take their advice). Luckily, a good coating of wax can help lock in your car’s color, protect it from damaging UV rays, and give the dust something other than your clearcoat or paint to grind off. In most places (unless you live in Arizona or Alaska), waxing once in the spring and once in the fall will give your car year-round protection. For those of you with a delicate custom or vintage original paintjob, investing in a covered parking space or even a car cover is probably worth it.

Another common worry is the greenhouse hotbox that is a nice classic vinyl or leather interior parked in the hot sun. Not only can this lead to a toasted butt and legs seemingly burnt to the seat, but it can cause fading and dry out of your interior. As above, the most obvious way to avoid damaging your interior is to park in the shade and leave your windows cracked, but there are some other tricks too. One of those giant folding windshield panels can go a long way to keeping your interior cool and out of the damaging light of the sun. Even though they may not look great, seat covers or even some blankets thrown over the upholstery can stop almost all sun damage. You should be doing this anyway, but summer heat makes it all the more critical to use a high quality leather conditioner on your leather upholstery. You can also help stop plastic and vinyl from fading with a protecting conditioner like Armor All and its many competitors. Another tip- a hot car can combine with dust and organic compounds in your upholstery to form a nasty film that is very hard to remove, so keep your interior a little cleaner than you otherwise might.

Our friends over at WeatherTech, makers of some of the finest floor mats you can buy (and made in the USA to boot) have a full line of car care supplies to prepare your paint and interior for summer, from leather conditioner to custom-made car covers.

Even though it’s in the shade, don’t forget to pay attention to under your hood. Your cooling system is also an obvious worry on hot summer days, and while we’re sure you’ve already done this, or at least thought about it, maybe take a break to look at your radiator and make sure it’s got the correct coolant and level. While you’re at it, check all your fluids, because your engine has a much harder time cooling off on a summer day, which can turn low levels of engine oil or transmission fluid into a disaster.

Everyone worries about their battery in the winter, and while a cold morning can be murder on your battery’s ability to crank your engine, the hot days of summer are a battery’s true enemy. Especially in older style batteries, heat can cause the battery’s fluid to evaporate, damaging the internal structure while it recharges off your alternator. This summer, if your battery is feeling a bit weak when you start, be sure to top it off (if you’ve got a true classic battery) or replace it before it leaves you stranded.

If you’re like most of us at Backyard Buddy, summer also means that your garage has gone from a (somewhat) tidy place to park and work to a jumbled mess of cars, lawn mowers, garden supplies, bikes, hoses, toys, and Lord knows what else. Just a reminder that we’ve got lifts that can help keep your car in your garage and out of the sun, with a rock-solid design that makes it safe to store bikes, mowers, and all of the summer’s jumble under your vehicle.

Give us a call at (800) 837-9353 from 8:00 to 4:30 EST any weekday to learn more about how we can help you keep your car off the ground.

Your Guide to American-Made Products Online

We proudly proclaim that Backyard Buddy is an American company, using American steel and American workers.

For years, you also know we’ve been helping to promote other companies that can also stake that claim.  Given the state of our economy and the high unemployment rates, it’s crucial that we all make a conscious effort to search out American-made products.  We want every American to know that they have the power to fix the economy, provide jobs for themselves and their neighbors, and to increase the quality of the products they buy.  Vote with your wallets and purchase high quality, American-made products – Be American, Buy American!  There are many online resources for shopping “Made in the USA” products so we’ve gathered a few here for you to peruse:

Made in America Store

This is an excellent source for a huge assortment of merchandise, including clothing and accessories; groceries; toys and games; hardware; stationery; and outdoor, home and pet products.  The site offers free shipping on orders $100 and over.  And be sure to check out there amazing “American dream,” comeback story – “The Beginning, The Crisis, The Opportunity, and the Future.”
http://www.madeinamericastore.com/

USAonly.US
This site is all about “Gettin’ America Back in Business” by asking Americans to commit again to buying products from our neighbors.  There are 24 product categories, and it’s easy to search alphabetically for the nearly 1,300 businesses listed under company bios, with a link to each of those sites.  Mark Reasbeck, founder and patriot, said it is his hope that the site “will link consumers and manufacturers arm-in-arm across the country.”   
http://www.usaonly.us/

AmericansWorking.com
This site was created to provide consumers with an easy to use and highly accessible means of finding products made in America, which strives to “help keep good jobs here.”  Want to keep your dollars in your home state?  This site also features American-made product directory by state, so you can support your closet neighbors.   (We’re happy to plug that Backyard Buddy is listed on this site.)
http://americansworking.com/

Made In USA!
This website is a product search engine and database for those looking for products made in the United States.  Companies can add their “Made in the USA” listing for free.   The MadeInUSA! organization behind the site is dedicated to bringing jobs and prosperity back to the United States of America.
http://www.madeinusa.org/

Toys Made in America
Here’s a fun site – for the kid in you!   In all seriousness, this site was launched in 2007 (after so many China-made toys were recalled) to provide a listing of safer, American-made toys and products.   There’s a variety of merchandise, listed alphabetically and by toy companies.
http://toysmadeinamerica.com/

Our Veterans Deserve the Best Quality Care

If you’ve followed our story, you know that Larry Gross, Owner & President of Backyard Buddy Corporation, is a Vietnam veteran and proudly served his country as a Marine.  Like so many others, he believes that all veterans deserve to have access to the best healthcare possible.

Sadly, that’s not the case.  The Veterans Administration is a terribly, fraudulent agency, riddled with reports of mismanagement, waste, and rampant cost overruns.  Our veterans are subjected to poor and extremely delayed care and are affected by a backlog of benefit claims.  Obama made lots of generous overtures to the veterans when he ran in 2007; but we’ve all seen that his idea of reform consisted of throwing more money at an already broken and corrupt system, with nothing to show for it.

The VA is in desperate of need of an overhaul. There’s only one candidate running for President with a plan to “ensure veterans have convenient access to the best quality care.”  The Trump plan “will decrease wait times, improve healthcare outcomes, and facilitate a seamless transition from service into civilian life.”  To better understand his position on Veterans Administration Reform, visit his site, https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/veterans-administration-reforms.

We need a strong and effective Veterans Administration to be there for our veterans and their families.  The men and women who willingly serve and defend our great nation deserve to receive superior healthcare.

Support our Veterans.  Support Trump. “Make America Great Again!”

Backyard Buddy at the Spring Carlisle

One of the surest signs of spring is the annual Carlisle spring collector and classic car swap meet, car corral, and auction. Held every spring (and fall) in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, this huge event fills the 150 acres of the Carlisle Fairgrounds with cars, car parts, memorabilia, and just about anything else related to transportation.

The highlight of the weekend-as far as we’re concerned, anyway-is that Backyard Buddy will have a vendor booth where you can check out or lifts firsthand. We’ll be on the midway in booths M 106 and 107, a few rows south of the grandstands. We’ll be right in the thick of the action, so there’s no reason not to stop by and say hello!

Obviously, you’ll want our booth to be your first stop, but once you’ve seen our high-quality, American-made lifts (and maybe ordered one), you can check out more than 8,000 other booths from other manufacturers, vendors, and guys with a barn’s worth of parts for sale. Maybe you’ll even get lucky and find that OEM AMC Rambler camshaft you’ve been looking for!

If parts aren’t your style, there will be more than 2,000 vehicles for sale in the car corral. You can get behind the wheel and make a deal on everything from vintage trucks, to classic American muscle, to the latest and greatest supercars. If you’d rather try your luck against other car guys, you can check out the collector car auction on Thursday and Friday. Current consignments include a 1970 Boss 302 Mustang, a 1991 Lotus Elan, and a 1925 Lincoln limousine. On the other hand, if your budget is more like ours, or if your dream car is still in a bunch of boxes in your garage, you can get a deal in the daily driver blowout next to the car corral.

The best part about this event is that anyone can be a part of it. Vendor spaces are still available, and can be purchased for around $100. If you’ve got a garage full of old parts you want to get rid of, this is one of the best places to do it (and then re-fill your garage with new parts). We heard there’s a guy looking for an AMC Rambler camshaft, so if you’ve got one, make sure to put it up front.

If you need a little extra push to get out to the event, it’s less than an hour from Hershey, PA (Hersheypark won’t be open yet, but the zoo and chocolate attractions will be), 45 minutes from Gettysburg, and two hours from Philadelphia or Washington, DC.

The spring show runs from Wednesday, April 20th to Sunday the 24th. Admission is $10 ($7 on Sunday), or $30 for an event pass. The Carlisle Fairgrounds are about a half hour west of Harrisburg, PA, and are easy to get to off of Route 81. You can find all the details here: http://www.carlisleevents.com/carlisle-events/carlisle-spring-swap-meet-corral-auction/default.aspx

We hope to see you there because there’s nothing we love more than showing off our lifts to our fellow car guys (and gals). As always, if you’d like more information about Backyard Buddy, visit us on the web at www.backyardbuddy.com or give us a call at (800) 837-9353.

A Visit to the National Packard Museum

You’re probably not surprised that most of us here at Backyard Buddy love cars, trucks, motorcycles, and just about anything else you can think of with an engine and wheels (and we’re not even all that strict about it having wheels). If you’ve read our site, you also know that we’re proud to be an American company that makes American products with American workers right here in Warren, Ohio.

What you may not know is that we’re not the first automotive enthusiasts to open a factory on Dana Street in Warren. All the way back in 1899, two brothers who had been manufacturing incandescent bulbs for a few years, James and William Packard (if you’re a car guy, you already know where we’re going with this), started to manufacture high-quality automobiles in a factory just down the street from where we are today. Packard Motor Car Company was one of the first American luxury car manufacturers, and before joining most of the auto industry in moving to Detroit in 1906, built its first few model years right here in Warren.

Within its first decade, Packard became the standard in American luxury, and was known for its sleek designs, powerful engines, and high-end features like air conditioning. Perhaps reflecting the company’s early history, the cars’ electrical system was so highly-regarded that Packard’s wire and lighting business was sold to General Motors and produced automotive bulbs and electrical components in Warren for decades.

Never a community to shy away from its industrial roots, Warren now celebrates Packard’s history through the National Packard Museum, located in downtown Warren, about a mile from our headquarters and the original Packard plant.

Located at 1899 Mahoning Avenue, the National Packard Museum is open from noon until 5:00 Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00 until 5:00 on Sunday. As you might expect, the museum features plenty of Packards, with more than 30 cars spanning the first production car in 1900 to a 1956 Packard Caribbean that marks the last of the “true” Packards (its last model years offered re-badged Studebakers). The museum also features Packard memorabilia, items from the electrical division, and an archives featuring original catalogs, sales items, and other documents.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum also features temporary and traveling exhibits. We love the current exhibit “What’s in Your Barn,” featuring 30 “barn find” motorcycles from 1939 to 1983. What’s really cool about this exhibit is that some of the bikes have been restored to showcase the hard work that it takes to turn “before” into “after,” but some of the bikes have been left unrestored (though cobwebs and mice have been removed, we think) and are in the sometimes-beautiful condition in which they were found.

If you’ve been thinking about coming to check out the Backyard Buddy showroom and need a little something extra to entice you, why not come see us and then visit the Packard Museum? We’re just a little over a mile apart, and will even give you the inside scoop about where to stop for lunch. For more details on the museum, go to http://www.packardmuseum.org/