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Made in Michigan: Tanglefoot fly paper

6:26 PM, Feb 26, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)- A 127-year old company on Grand Rapids' southwest side is still going strong. Tanglefoot is best known for its fly paper and animal repellents.

"We are the primary manufacturing operations for the company," says Bill Jones, vice president of operations for Contech Enterprises. The Canadian company purchased Tanglefoot in 2009.

Long-time employee Karen Shirley says Tanglefoot was started by the owner of a Grand Rapids drugstore in 1885. "Tanglefoot was created because pharmacists needed a way to keep flies off drugs."

The first product was fly paper. A special glue was placed on the paper and the flies stuck to it. That same sticky substance is used today. About 10 employees manufacture products like Tree Glue that catches bugs and Bird Repellant.

"You put a small bead on the window sill on the roof. It doesn't capture birds, but it's meant to make them upset and they eventually fly away," says Shirley.

The company also makes products like fruit fly traps, cat repellant, and its most popular product: The Scare Crow. It's a motion-activated device that sprays water when an animal enters your yard or garden. The company has benefitted from having a distribution location in Michigan.

"Being in the central United States, we're able to bring all our shipping in-house," says Jones.

Since it was purchased, the Tanglefoot brand and Contech has grown into a multi-million dollar company. You can find their products in lawn and garden stores like Flowerland or in hardware stores like Ace Hardware or True Value.

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