MANITOWOC – Metal Art of Wisconsin owner Shane Henderson never would have imagined five or six years ago that his metal-working hobby would blow up into a company selling thousands and thousands of items featured on national news.
On Wednesday, a few hours before Metal Art was featured on the “Made in America” segment of ABC World News Tonight with David Muir on WBAY-Channel 2, Henderson told Streetwise Manitowoc he expected phones to once again ring off the hook with orders — it’s not the first time the company’s been on national television.
The company started small in his garage, where he and son Justis created wood and metal flags. He had been a welder for years and decided to dabble in metal art. After showing a few pieces for sale on Instagram, his work became so popular he moved three times to bigger shops, most recently to a 15,000-square foot space at 1125 S. Rapids Road.
Henderson outsources some fabricating work to Manitowoc Metal Works, 4551 Custer St., to keep up with demand.
Metal Art has 35 employees and he may hire more after his segment airs on national news.
“We didn’t expect this,” he said, referring to his son and wife Tammy. “We thought we’d originally make some art and sell it at farmers’ markets.”
One of the business’s most popular items is the “freedom cabinet,” an American flag cut from metal and mounted on a narrow wall cabinet, which allows for discreet storage.
Also popular are American flags cut from metal and mounted on a wood background. The studio designs trees of life, flowers and patriotic or gun-related items along with many custom pieces. Customers have included celebrities, professional athletes, musicians and politicians.
Through its Flags for Fortitude program, the company donates flags to military, law enforcement, first responders and frontline medical workers, teachers and volunteers.
The company has been featured on “Fox and Friends” on the Fox News channel several times, and business always spikes afterward, Henderson said. His company sold thousands of cabinets after a segment last holiday season, and it took until October to catch up on back orders.
The coronavirus pandemic caused some workers to be out sick or quarantined when a family member tested positive, which put production behind, as did providing flexibility for employees with school-aged children taking online-only classes.
“This year has been truly wild,” Henderson told Streetwise. “ABC News is a much larger stage than we’ve been on before, I expect orders to go through the roof. We are trying to prepare ourselves. We are so thankful for all of the support, but also it’s a bit overwhelming.”
For more information visit metalartofiwisconsin.com or follow them on Instagram @metal_art_of_wisconsin, where they have 201,000 followers.
Got a tip, question or comment for Streetwise Manitowoc? Contact reporter Patti Zarling at 920-606-2586 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @PGPattiZarling.