Rural Missouri - February 2020 - 35

plants, with one located in Mexico, and a distribution center in Mississippi. They operate under the banner of Blauer
Manufacturing Co. based in Boston.
The Blauer name has been an industry icon since 1936,
with four generations of family running the operation.
Today, its products run the gamut from the hazmat suits
made at the Iberia plant to tactical knives, boots, belts and
jackets used by SWAT teams. Its products are certified to
multiple standards and are developed and field tested by
the professionals that will use them.
For 15 years the Iberia factory produced garments for
the U.S. government, which remains its biggest client. It
made uniforms for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines,
as well the blue uniforms worn by U.S. Postal Service
employees. As its reputation for producing quality apparel
increased, L.B. Manufacturing added local police departments, fire departments and emergency services such as
ambulance districts to its list of clients.
In 2008 the company began making Class 2 and 3
chemical biological suits, and that is all it does today. "Our
current product is shipped all over the United States, protecting civilian and military personnel," says Debbie Hill,
plant manager. "Our Class 3 suits were worn by a special
unit that was sent to Japan for the tsunami disaster in
2011. We take special pride in our garments, knowing they
are suits to protect the end user. We are very proud to be a
part of it."
Over the years, Hollywood has come calling, somehow
finding the plant located in a town of 736 people in central
Missouri. L.B. Manufacturing made several chemical suits
for the movie "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." It made a
postal jacket worn by Cliff on the TV series "Cheers." Most
recently, the company made suits used in the TNT network
series "The Last Ship."
It was called on to make garments for President Carter's
inauguration and I.D. jackets for FBI characters on another TV show.
The hazard suits begin life as large rolls of special fabric
that are stacked up to 50 layers thick and carefully cut
from a large pattern designed to minimize waste. As the
pieces are cut, they move on to other employees who sew
them together, add zippers and other parts until they are
complete.
From here every garment is carefully inspected multiple
ways to ensure they will protect the end user. At one point
the Class 2 suits are filled with air and water is sprayed
on them to show any leaks. Another test checks for leaks
in the rubber booties. Any piece that fails inspection is repaired, if possible, or destroyed. The company can track its
products all the way back to the material lot should there
ever be a problem.
Business is so good for the plant's products that the
company would like to expand, Debbie says. But like many
small-town businesses these days, finding enough help is
a real issue. Iberia's remote location and small population
make it difficult to attract enough employees to keep the
current production going. Employees enjoy good wages,
paid holidays and medical insurance, in addition to intense training for the highly skilled tasks.
"Yes it's manufacturing, and you are on your feet,"
Debbie says. "But if you are willing to work we have a good
future for you here."

The Blauer group's slogan is "Serious Protection" and
the 80 workers at the plant in Iberia take that to heart,
knowing lives depend on the quality of their work. Those
who rely on this protection hope it is never needed but are
no doubt grateful for these made-in-Missouri products.
For more information about jobs at L.B. Manufacturing,
call 573-793-6622. To learn more about products sold by
the Blauer Co., visit www.blauer.com.

Above: Everything made at L.B. Manufacturing is carefully inspected to
ensure it will protect those who use it. Shown here are Ronnie Buechter, the company's longest-tenured employee at 48 years, and her sister,
Hilda Workman, who has worked at the plant 38 years. Below: Seth
McDonald tests a bootie for leakage before it is added to a suit.


http://www.blauer.com

Rural Missouri - February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - February 2020

Contents
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - 4
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - 5
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - 6
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - 7
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - 8
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - 9
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - 10
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Rural Missouri - February 2020 - 49
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - 50
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - February 2020 - Cover4
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