Winners Announced for “Coolest Thing” Competition
Each year, in honor of Manufacturing Month, the Fort Atkinson Chamber of Commerce celebrates local manufacturers, highlighting the diverse products created in the region and the impact of manufacturing on the local economy. To increase awareness of these products and the modern technology needed to produce them, the chamber also hosts the “Coolest Thing Made in Fort Atkinson” competition. Residents and businesses are invited to vote for their favorite product. This year, the voting included two categories: manufacturers with less than 50 employees and manufacturers with more than 50 employees.
The 2020 entries for small manufacturers included handmade spear fishing decoys from Ryan Ebert LLC and a skin care line from Hippychick Penny Soaps & Body Care. Spear fishing decoys are functional pieces of art, commonly used throughout the "Ice Belt" states during the winter months for fishing or decoration. Hippychick Penny Soaps & Body Care products are handcrafted from scratch with pure oils, plant extracts and wholesome ingredients to hydrate, smooth and restore the skin.
As for the large manufacturers, Ball Corporation’s aluminum cans, Spacesaver’s Mobile Storage Systems, and Jones Dairy Farm’s breakfast meats were each submitted for the “Coolest Thing Made in Fort”. Ball Corporation’s Fort Atkinson facility has been part of the community since 1989, and they create a 100% infinitely recyclable 12 oz aluminum can for the beer and beverage industries. Spacesaver’s Mobile Storage Systems hold and store some of the most interesting artifacts in the world. Jones Dairy Farm ships their breakfast meats manufactured here in Fort Atkinson to 21 countries around the world.
The top vote-getter for 2020’s small manufacturer category was Ryan Ebert LLC. Each of Ryan’s handmade spear fishing decoys are carved from cedar, carefully weighted to swim a slow circle, painted, and clear coated to withstand use in freezing water and being struck by Northern Pike. These examples of American folk art can look like anything from real fish to imagined colorful critters. After the decoys are retired from use they remind their owners of fond days spent on frozen lakes with friends and family.
For the second year in a row, the top vote-getter for 2020’s large manufacturer category was Spacesaver. Spacesaver’s Mobile Storage Systems hold some of the world’s most interesting objects like Queen Victoria’s undergarments, presidential memorabilia, 6,000-pound torpedoes, and Coca-Cola collectibles. Spacesaver began with a few people tinkering around with shelving in a barn in Fort Atkinson. Now hundreds of employees help design and manufacture a variety of Spacesaver Mobile Storage Systems, which are entrusted with storing some of the coolest, most important, and interesting objects in the world.