Day 87: Michigan Ice Cube Trays

Photo courtesy of Michigan Ice Cube Trays
[box size=”large” border=”full”]Why this is awesome: Hugh Hatch took the initiative to promote one of Michigan’s best known features: her shape. Not only he did promote it, he also used industries within Michigan to create his product which supported many local businesses.[/box]Whenever a Michigander is asked where they are from, they instinctively lift up their right hand, point with their left and say, “here.”  Michigan’s distinct shape leaves her residents fortunate to live in one of the coolest looking states in the nation.Some Michigan residents use the states unique shape as a business opportunity.  Hugh Hatch, for example, produced a quality product that everyone can enjoy. In order to pass a Business Communications class in 1984, Hatch was given an assignment to present an idea for a new business or product. And he did just that. He presented the idea of ice cube trays with molds being in the shape of the state of Michigan, rather than normal cubes.  After creating the idea, developing the drawings, and contacting suppliers, Hatch’s class project became a reality. His “inspiration wasn’t to become a millionaire like most people ask.” His inspiration was to simply pass the class.

Photo courtesy of Michigan Ice Cube Trays.

Although it may seem like an easy process, there is an extensive amount of effort put in to create the Michigan Ice Trays. Although Hatch created the original drawings, Tim Feskorn of Plastec Design converted his drawings to data and made some design changes for manufacturability.  The next step was to make the injection mold, which was built by Extreme Machining and Engineering.  Hatch proudly states that, “All of my suppliers are located in Michigan.” Throughout this process, Hatch learned much about supporting his local economy: “It is surprising how such a small, insignificant product has on so many people trying to make a living.  My suppliers and the stores that sell them depend on the Michigan Ice Trays success to make a small contribution to their profit.  A small impact but better than nothing.  I won’t be anywhere close to becoming a millionaire from the trays but when I was laid off for two years, they generated just enough income to keep the lights on.”

Born and raised in Michigan his entire life, Hatch decided to use the unique shape of Michigan for his product. “Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and many other states already look like an ice cube without any features.” Like all Michiganders, Hatch enjoys the passing of the seasons (wishing summer was a little longer). Overtime, Hatch would like to “sell enough of [his product] to pay off the tooling and use any profits to develop another Ice Tray from one of the states, like Florida or California.”

Michigan Ice Trays are a unique product every Michigander can enjoy. You can use them for just about anything and it is a high quality product that will not let you down. To order your own set of Michigan Ice trays, or to get them as a gift, click here! ~Mel Libby, Regional Director

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The Awesome Mitten was born when I moved back to Michigan from Nashville, TN in September 2010. Almost immediately, I became frustrated. I couldn’t figure out why there weren’t more Michigan residents singing our states praises! I was so irritated, I wrote a Letter to the Editor. Three weeks later, I had started a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a landing page for the website, determined to do something to make Michigan residents aware of all the cool things going on in their own state. Email me: alex@awesomemitten.com