Hog Eye Tong Company
Owner: David Osborn
Location: West Fork, Ark.
Product: The Hog Eye Tong is a multipurpose tool used to grab and hold onto just about anything. The Hog Eye Tong has been used to catch snakes and frogs, as well as catch and hold chickens. The tong comes in a variety of sizes from 18” to 52” inches, but the length can be customized to fit specific needs.
Company History: The company originated 50 years ago and has had only two other owners; David is the third. He purchased the company four years ago from the second owner. “We’ve seen our sales increase by at least 75 percent,” David said. The Hog Eye Tong is primarily sold wholesale to over 70 different poultry and farm supply stores, and in catalogs across the nation.
Challenges and Insights: Having caught chickens himself in the past, David has first-hand knowledge of what back-breaking work it can be. Knowing that, he improved the original design “specifically for the chicken farmers” with an arm attachment for increased leverage. Right now, David says the hardest thing for him is keeping up with production and trying to fill orders. He has the help of his wife and son, but other challenges present themselves as he not only designs and manufactures, but is involved in every other aspect of the business as well, including shipping, billing, public relations and advertising. David stressed the importance of good business training and taking advantage of small business resources available through the state of Arkansas’ website.
Why it works: The Tong is made from aluminum so it is light and easy to hold and operate. After some important customer feedback as well as extensive studies and testing in 2009, David redesigned some parts. Previously the Tong’s maximum lifting capacity was around 250 pounds. “Now it tests out at 750 pounds and I haven’t sold a single replacement part since,” David said.
By Pam Long