museums&MORE Fall 2015
American Keepsakes By Zeke Jennings

Souvenirs celebrating American places made right here in America — that’s a recipe sure to appeal to today’s consumer.

Here, we take a look at three new companies — Boundless Brooklyn, Michigan Shaped Adirondack Chairs and Zootility Tools, all less than three years old.

The companies offer a diverse array of products, but all have this in common — interesting, fun and purposeful keepsakes made in the U.S.


Located: New York

Makes: Customizable model kits made of chipboard that can be assembled to create billboards, water towers, lifeguard houses and more.

They said it: The funny thing is, we didn’t really know if people would respond to our models, but we noticed that no one else was making what turned out to be our first product: the medium water tower. … Almost two years since our debut, we’ve been heartened to see that our products appeal to a wide variety of people — locals, tourists, artists, design aficionados, toy enthusiasts, DIY fans — and venues, including museum stores, gift shops and small and large retailers. We also made a decision in the beginning to make everything in the U.S. from 100 percent recyclable and lightweight materials. The latter attributes make the kits easy to travel with or ship.” — David Shulman, Boundless Brooklyn


Located: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Makes: Outdoor chairs shaped like — you guessed it — the state of Michigan. Chairs are shaped like the Lower Peninsula, while side tables are shaped like the Upper Peninsula.

They said it: “Cedar is such a great wood for outdoor type deck furniture. It has natural oils in it that act as an insect repellent, and it can handle the weather pretty well. … We cut the wood and build all the (Michigan-shaped) chairs at a barn in Middleville. Each one takes about four hours.” — Jonathan Ramer, Michigan Shaped Adirondack Chairs (MAD)


Located: Portland, Maine

Makes: Stainless steel multiuse gadgets thin enough to be carried in a wallet. The PocketMonkey, for example, serves as a bottle opener, letter opener, screwdriver (flat, micro and Phillips), hex wrench, phone kickstand, ruler, orange peeler and more. Zootility Tools also makes customizable bottle openers and coasters.

They said it: “We have PocketMonkey and Headgehog (comb), which are our staple products. … They are (stainless steel) multi-tools designed to be carried in a wallet like a credit card. We also have our Open Beer Season brand, which has multiple lines of bottle openers under it.” — Tristan Corriveau, Zootility Tools

Zeke Jennings

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