By: Kendra Kuo
Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-01) today presented Aster Brands of Charlevoix with the U.S. Commercial Service’s Export Achievement Certificate. The event took place at Aster Brands facilities which is the parent company of Redi-Rock International, in Charlevoix, MI.
The Export Achievement Certificate recognizes U.S. companies that have either made their first export sale or expanded their sales into overseas markets with assistance from the U.S. Commercial Service. Redi-Rock International is a family-owned and operated business that manufactures and engineers large block retaining walls. Redi-Rock walls can be found in almost every state in the US as well as in Canada, Algeria, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Estonia, Belgium, Russia, Spain, South Korea, the United Kingdom. This award was presented for their recent sales growth in Norway.
Congressman Jack Bergman, stated, “Aster Brands has a long history of success in northern Michigan. I’m proud to join the team today to recognize the impact their work is having not only in Michigan, but throughout the world. It’s my pleasure to recognize their achievements in international sales and to congratulate them on this momentous occasion.”
The U.S Commercial Service began working with Redi-Rock in 2015, counselling them on international best practices. Thanks to the matchmaking services provided by the U.S. Commercial Service Oslo embassy office, Redi-Rock signed an exclusive licensing agreement to expand sales with a precast concrete manufacturer in Norway.
“It has been great fun to work with Redi-Rock’s sales team. The Redi-Rock brand appeals to global customers because they combine innovative designs with quality U.S. engineering,” commented Kendra Kuo, Director of the U.S. Commercial Service Grand Rapids Office.
Kevin Loe, Redi-Rock Director of Sales, explained “Our team has found government and university resources to be extremely beneficial to helping us grow our international footprint. Both the U.S. Commercial Service and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation have introduced us to foreign partners. Grand Valley State University has also provided us with critical market intelligence. Utilizing these resources has shortened the time that it takes for Redi-Rock to succeed in new markets. But more importantly, international sales support our job growth back home.”
The West Michigan District Export Council helped coordinate the presentation. Several of their members attended the award presentation congratulating Aster Brands on their success. Jean Schtokal, Chair of the West Michigan District Export Council, and Shareholder with law firm Foster Swift, noted, “Michigan’s economy depends on trade. Over 271,000 Michigan jobs were created by exporting companies. However, sometimes selling internationally can be intimidating,” Schtokal continued, “but if you have a website, you are already attracting international customers. It is important to plan strategically like Aster Brands did and know that there are resources available such as the U.S. Commercial Service and the District Export Council, to help you develop sales while mitigating your risks.”
The U.S. Commercial Service is a U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, the premier resource for American companies competing in the global marketplace. The U.S. Commercial Service helps exporters through its vast network located in over 100 U.S. cities and 75 markets worldwide. For more information on the U.S. Commercial Service and the International Trade Administration, visit www.export.gov or call 616-458-3564.
The West Michigan District Export Council is a volunteer-based organization that works closely with the U.S. Commercial Service to provide practical, hands-on consulting for small and medium sized companies. Use the wealth of knowledge from District Export Council members to jumpstart your international business plan. For more information, visit www.exportwestmichigan.com or register for ExporTech, a collaborative program featuring trainers from the West Michigan District Export Council, the U.S. Commercial Service, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation at https://global.broad.msu.edu/gbclub.
Redi-Rock International is known as the engineering authority in the large block retaining wall industry. Redi-Rock International is owned by Aster Brands. Aster Brands provides forms, molds, equipment, and support for concrete manufacturers to build or expand their businesses around the world.