Thursday, May 5, 2016

Anthony Robinson, United States Veteran and Entrapreneur

On Monday I shared with you about Chrisman Mills Farms and Anthony Robinson. Today I'd like to introduce you to Tony. I asked him about his time in the service.

It was an honor to serve our country. My service actually started in the Army Reserves but the majority of my time in, was USAF and left as a Staff Sergeant.


In today's economy it's not easy to start a new business, so I asked Tony to share a little about how he got started.



During the spring of 2013, I experimented with several designs for a carpenter bee trap to combat an increasingly persistent problem with the damage these pests were inflicting on my neighbors and my property. We had been told by a major pest control company that there wasn’t much they could do to eliminate our carpenter bee problem with chemical sprays or powders. Upon the very first day of hanging these traps I knew I had stumbled on a product that is highly successful for controlling and eliminating these bees. The following week I designed methods and jigs for mass production.

Chrisman Mill Farms Limited Liability Company was formed in the late spring of 2013 due in full to the huge success of the Wood Bee GoneTM carpenter bee trap with state government and retail store customers for ease of business dealings. Because of the seasonal nature of carpenter bees, other avenues of income were sought out… mainly cordless power tool Ni-Cad battery pack rebuilding (a short lived venture) and Black Walnut sales.

In the spring of 2014, online sales spiked so dramatically that it was necessary to hire a temporary employee to help manufacture the Wood Bee GoneTM traps. Peter Adams was hired and trained as the shop wood worker the first week of April. Together, Peter and I implemented new production methods and new equipment was purchased to increase productivity and quality. Peter’s temporary employment with CMF lasted until the first week of June. During the latter half of 2014 new products were added to our product line. Built in shop is a pine children’s picnic table. CMF also acquired a rather large inventory of premade children’s time out benches which are housed in a local warehouse. These benches are sold online and marketed as a multitude of different products. CMF also started online sales of hedge apples during the fall season along with Black Walnuts. Winter was spent opening up new online markets and updating internet and social media sites.

I truly believe that our philosophy of dealing with our customer’s on a personal level, and name recognition generated our early trap sales this past February 2015. By mid-March it was necessary to rehire Peter full time. March also found us defending our traps against our only major competitor who for a solid week hijacked our product page on Amazon. At the end of the ordeal we were rewarded with brand registration and our competitor being band from that site. There was such a high demand for our Wood Bee GoneTM traps with our online market places, that it was necessary to increase the unit price and hire another two temporary employees. Spring of 2015 saw our traps being sold in 17 retail stores verses the 5 we had during 2014. It was at this point we realized the necessity of building traps year around to satisfy demand rather than hiring and training temp workers each season. It was also necessary at this point to hire office/shipping help. Through research in 2015, we found our Wood Bee GoneTM traps, with a slight modification, are also effective at catching hornets, wasps and other stinging insects. Our traps are now being sold in online market places as the Hornet Hotel and has brought us additional sales. Chrisman Mill Farms has also added diatomaceous earth to its product list.

This past December I was made aware that our carpenter bee traps were infringing on a US Patent held by Brian Blazer from Heflin, Alabama. I promptly visited Mr. Blazer to apologize for my ignorance of his patent and became very good friends with him. In January we secured a license to manufacture and sell our traps under his patent... one of the only two companies legally authorized in the United States.

This year Chrisman Mill Farms employees eight full time employees and manufactures nearly 300 carpenter bee traps per day. Also new this year is a contract with corporate Southern States Co-Op to supply their stores nationally.



Here's a picture of Tony and Brian Blazer. I hope you find Tony's story as inspiring as I did. If you'd like to learn more about Tony and Chrisman Mills Farms, here's the link.

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