M & B Hangers
M & B Hangers (M & B Metal Products, Inc.), founded in 1943 by Milton Magnus, Sr, is a privately-owned manufacturer of wire garment hangers located at 8575 Parkway Drive in Leeds. With more than 100 employees it is the largest American hanger manufacturer, and one of Leeds' largest companies. Milton Magnus, Jr became president after his father's death in 1965. Milton Magnus III took over after his father's retirement in 1988 and is the current president.
Before moving to Leeds, the company operated from 4415 Morris Avenue in Birmingham's Avondale neighborhood. In addition to their current factory in Leeds, M & B operates manufacturing facilities in South Hill, Virginia and Piedras Negras, Mexico. Through their distributors they supply dry cleaners, garment and uniform rental outlets and other industrial hanger consumers in the Eastern U. S. They can also supply drawn, straightened and cut wire in various gauges.
In 1992 M & B began using their delivery trailers as rolling billboards promoting the dry-cleaning and uniform rental industries rather than just displaying their name. Helping promote the business of their customers was deemed more productive than self-promotion.
The company lobbies for trade regulations that allow it to compete with Chinese suppliers who are accused of "dumping" underpriced product into the American market. Magnus testified before the United States International Trade Commission in 2003. The Commission found in favor of the American companies' complaints with regard to safeguards in section 421(b)(1) of the Fair Trade Act of 1974 and forwarded the matter to the administration, which has taken no action to apply tariffs or other relief.
Due to continued complaints from M & B, the government found that Chinese imports had increased from 773 million hangers in 2004 to nearly 3 billion in October 2007. On March 20, 2008, the Trade Commission ruled that the Chinese were indeed dumping and it imposed tariffs against Chinese manufacturers, in many cases 221 percent. M & B immediately moved to double its work force. Meanwhile the dry cleaning industry across the nation suffered a large increase in their costs for hangers.
On May 15, 2008 a 30,000 square foot section of their 100,000 square foot Leeds facility was affected by a roof collapse. Six people were injured, two of them contractors working to repair a beam which had been damaged by a forklift two weeks before. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration levied nearly $170,000 in fines to M&B and the roofing subcontractor resulting from their investigation of the incident.
- Leotta, Joan (February 1999) "Vendor’s ‘Rolling Billboards’ Promote Industry." Industrial Launderer.  - accessed April 12, 2006
- "Bush Is Accused Of Favoring Chinese Over U.S. Interests U.S. Manufacturers Charge Federal Government With Malfeasance In Upholding Trade Laws With China." (June 3, 2003) Manufacturing & Technology News Vol. 10, No. 11.  - accessed April 12, 2006
- U.S. Internation Trade Commission (February 2003). "Certain Steel Wire Garment Hangers From China." Investigation No. TA-421-2. Publication 3575. Washington D. C. PDF - accessed April 12, 2006
- Carnahan, Ira (April 14, 2003) "Quota Factory: The International Trade Commission protects American shores from the ravages of... cheap coat hangers." Forbes Magazine.
- Diel, Stan (April 11, 2008) "Trade complaint from Leeds clothes hanger maker could increase prices for dry cleaning." Birmingham News
- Diel, Stan (April 12, 2008) "Leeds hanger maker doubles work force after winning trade fight with China." Birmingham News
- Hickerson, Patrick (May 16, 2008) "Six people hurt when part of roof collapses at M&B Hangers in Leeds." Birmingham News
- M & B Hangers website