By Warren Frank
Detroit-based company Original Stix appears to have found an extremely interested market for its game-used composite sticks phone cases.
The idea to turn old sticks into hockey-themed phone cases came from CEO Terry Johnson. He’s always been inspired by creative repurposing, but it was an experience during his time at Michigan State that was particularly influential.
“One of my friends built a table out of old sticks,” Johnson said. “I always thought it was interesting to repurpose something designed for an entirely different reason, and it got me thinking about other products built with authentic materials.”
After graduating, Johnson teamed up with two friends and fellow Michigan State alumni, Mario DiMercurio and Andrew Mestdagh, to found the company. The company’s first product, an iPhone 5 case, was launched in August, and its positive reception has led to the addition of Galaxy s5 cases, iPhone 6 cases and an apparel line. All Original Stix products are made in the U.S. – a point of pride for the business.
“The rubber cases are made using local injection molding facilities,” Johnson said. “The sticks are cut by hand, and then the inside is coated with a rubberized coating for added protection. When an order comes through, customers can request specific sticks so we match the sticks with the rubber frame and build to order.
“Everything is done right here in Detroit. The area has been going through some tough times in recent years, so creating jobs and bringing manufacturing back to the area is something that our fans have really gotten behind, regardless of what team they follow.”
And it’s not just fans interested in Original Stix products: the company recently completed a custom order for the New York Rangers, with cases featuring game-used sticks now sold at Madison Square Garden. Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who went to high school with Johnson and DiMercurio, has been to the Original Stix headquarters a number of times.
While Original Stix is looking to add additional teams, customers can currently choose stick pieces from more than 50 squads from the NHL, AHL, NCAA and OHL. The sticks can be swapped out without having to buy a new case.
“We’ve had a lot of customers who have sticks autographed by NHL players,” Johnson said. “We love seeing stuff like that. It’s like a portable piece of memorabilia as opposed to an autographed photo that just hangs on the wall.”