Golden Hammer Profile: Little Giant Outdoor Living

With a name like Franklin Electric, you'd be surprised to learn that "Pool Supplies" is the category in which the company's offshoot, Little Giant Outdoor Living, earned a 2014 Golden Hammer Award.

The Fort Wayne, Indiana-based company was originally founded in 1944 as a small motor manufacturing operation in Bluffton -- there was a demand for portable generators during the war. However, the housing boom after the war ended turned the market in a new direction -- toward electrical pump motors. It wasn't long before it came up with its claim to fame: a fully submersible motor that paved its path toward the manufacture of water and fueling systems.

Little Giant is in the business of decorative water products -- specifically, filtration equipment for water gardens, pools, ponds, aquariums, fountains and more.

It's a notable business for all the usual reasons. It maintains a high level of product quality, puts a premium on service and technical support, and has an eye trained on innovation at all times. Onsite engineers are always busy at the company's manufacturing facility, ready to resolve any issues and press on in the quest to develop new products.

But it's also got a certain scrappiness that sets it apart. When Franklin Electric was first founded, it had less than $20,000 in capital and a modest amount of resources overall. Today, it's a multi-million dollar enterprise with global reach, a finger on the pulse of industry trends, such as the current one back to mechanical (versus computerized) products.

"Pool cover pumps are trending back to the basics with mechanical float switches rather than computerized electronics," said Bobbie Grider, marketing specialist at Franklin Electric. "Consumers and contractors are also branching out and adding decorative water to their outdoor living space, which is why we just released an extensive disappearing fountain line."

Among Little Giant's latest and greatest is a user-friendly fountain kit that contains the basin, fountain, Little Giant pump and needed plumbing hardware.

As for what's next?

"Let's just say our customers will be pleased with the work we are putting in," said Grider.

The above is one of a series of profiles recognizing this year's Golden Hammer Vendor winners, to appear on and in HCN Daily. Thirty-one Golden Hammer Vendor winners were honored this year at the 2014 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.


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