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Made in Michigan: Uncle Goose Toys

6:17 PM, Dec 17, 2012   |    comments
Grand Rapids-based Uncle Goose Toys makes wooden blocks for children around the world.
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GRAND RAPIDS, (WZZM) -- A West Michigan company is literally providing the building blocks for fun and education, and its products are in demand all over the world.

Pete Bultman is the man who makes what is, for many children, their first toy -- wooden blocks from Uncle Goose Toys.

"As an educational product, I think everybody's got to have a set of blocks," says Bultman.  "They're education driven toys."

Most of what Bultman and his employees use to make the blocks is from Michigan -- from the wood to the packaging.

"Probably 98% of everything we source is Michigan made," he says.

Unlike many other toy companies, though, Uncle Goose is not automated.

"We process that wood into block form, print on it, smash it, we paint it, do everything we need to do, pack it up and ship it out," says Bultman.

Uncle Goose's blocks are a hit product in the U.S., and they are growing in popularity in other parts of the world, including the Middle East.

"We'd get a chance to bring some of that money that they so eagerly collect from us in oil back to Grand Rapids," says Bultman.

The blocks are not just ABCs and 123s.

"We put all sorts of different things on these blocks -- periodic tables, alphabet, presidents," says Bultman.  "It works for the adults, but I think the kids just like to stack them up and knock them down."

Bultman says his company is not about mass production. It's about careful, hand-crafted work that lasts for generations.

"It sort of bucks the trend of trying to mass produce and make money, but I think ultimately we're trying to do the right thing and make a good product and i think we're being rewarded for that," he says.

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