Miller Products Company, Osceola

Since 1964, Miller Products Company has been an integral part of the Osceola community. Founded in 1936 in Des Moines, Miller Products was originally a bicycle and skate shop, but it has since grown into a manufacturing hub of turned and machined parts. Miller Products offers a vast selection of in-stock catalog items and serves as a contract manufacturer for other manufacturers. 

 

Despite the company’s roots in small-town Iowa, Miller Products has continued to expand its reach. Just last year, they had sales in 48 states and abroad in Canada, Mexico, Spain, and Australia. This success can be attributed to Miller Products’ diversity. With a portfolio comprising both stock and custom products, the company mitigates risks and ensures steady growth. No single customer contributes more than 10% to its revenue, and with markets in agriculture, recreational equipment, construction, outdoor power products, and others, Miller serves an array of industries. 

 

While Miller Products has changed owners a handful of times since its founding, it has remained a family business, which is something that current owner, Kerry Richardson, takes pride in. “It’s going to be a family business; it always has been, and it should be,” states Kerry. 

  

Kerry was hired by Miller Products in 2008 for a sales role. Even then, the possibility of eventual ownership of Miller Products was discussed with then-owner Jack McFarland. Kerry was promoted to General Manager in 2022, and in early 2023, Jack McFarland announced his plans to retire. For the next year, Kerry collaborated with the South Central Iowa Small Business Development Center’s Regional Director, Jamie David, to develop a solid business and financial plan that paved the way for his ascension to ownership. 

  

“Jamie was absolutely great,” remarks Kerry. “From day one, she came in and helped me navigate the entire business plan and financial plan. Jamie went with me to the meetings with the bank, just to be supportive. She was there every step of the way.” 

  

After over a year of paperwork and transferring processes, Kerry was officially named owner and president of Miller Products about four months ago. McFarland remains an advisor to Kerry as he navigates this new role of business ownership. “It’s nice to have his years of experience because he grew up at Miller. His dad owned it,” Kerry noted. Kerry has since brought his own son into the business in hopes of keeping Miller Products in good hands in the future. 

  

Since becoming the owner, Kerry notes that some of his proudest accomplishments have been the changes he has made regarding employee benefits such as increasing their insurances and time off. “I want this thing to succeed, but I want it to be successful for everyone,” remarked Kerry. He noted how important it is for him to invest in his employees, especially considering the role they play in Miller Products’ continued success. “Our employees are the number one reason that we are successful.” 

  

With a team of just under 50 employees total, Kerry said one of the most challenging aspects of his new role is getting everyone in the right spot where they can contribute most. This new role has proved to be a valuable learning experience for Kerry, and he mentioned how he must walk a careful line of paying homage to the Miller Products that has been around for over 80 years while also thinking about future growth opportunities for Miller Products and changes that may need to be made for that growth to happen. “I need to steer this ship, but it was chugging along so I can’t screw it up,” Kerry joked. 

  

When asked about the future of Miller Products, Kerry mentioned that he would eventually like to expand the stock line with more sizes of current products and the possibility of adding brand new products. He also discussed getting Miller Products more involved with distribution as they have the workforce and capacity to accommodate it. Kerry is also planning to move his family down from Des Moines to become more involved with the Osceola community. 

  

As Kerry reflected on his own journey into small business ownership, he would advise others on this path to “Be patient” and “If you’re going to own a business, it has to be your lifestyle.” He noted how vital the assistance from Jamie David and the South Central Iowa Small Business Development Center was to his success. “I couldn’t have done this without her,” Kerry noted about Jamie David. “What a benefit for people like myself; I’m very glad that those types of organizations are out there to help people like me.” 

 

Check out Miller Products Company on their website or Facebook below! 

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