2012 - Volume #BFS, Issue #12, Page #08[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story ]
Business Is Booming For Eye-Catching StatuesA bucking bull with lights in its eyes fits perfectly in the Angry Bull restaurant in Michigan. An elk and zebra welcome visitors at the entrance to a Texas game reserve.
The animals are fiberglass statues poured and painted by Ned Fleetwood of Smithville, Ind. The retired concrete worker says he never intended to get into the business; he was just looking for a fiberglass horse for someone. He found one at a concrete statuary business and discovered that the owners had about 10 fiberglass molds that they didn’t want. Fleetwood bought them and started his own business in 2006.
Horses were the most popular at first but more recently his pigs and 8-ft. roosters have been hot.
“Car lots like roosters and gorillas to get attention,” Fleetwood says. “You can see the rooster 2 miles away.”
Besides businesses, he sells his fiberglass animals to exotic animal collectors and zoos, farmers and people who just want to make a big statement.
Fleetwood currently owns molds that range from colts, pigs and baby elephants to 10-ft. elk and 11-ft. elephants. He also makes giraffe, hippo, camel, mule, pig, bull, bear, buffalo and bucking horse statues.
Fleetwood pours them with the help of an assistant, then sands them and paints them with acrylic high-gloss enamel paints. Fiberglass is more durable and heavier than plastic statues, he says. For example, his rooster is 125 pounds, compared to 40 lbs. if it were plastic. Fleetwood also anchors his statues securely on a fiberglass base.
“They survive high winds and are strong enough to sit on,” Fleetwood says.
Cost for average size statues start at $1,000, plus shipping. Shipping to distant locations can get expensive, Fleetwood notes, though he has shipped a rooster, horse and pig to Norway. He also combines orders and makes deliveries to reduce costs.
Fleetwood has 30 animal molds to choose from.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ned Fleetwood, Box 29, Smithville, Ind. 47458 (ph 615 495-8399 or 812 824-6661; www.nedsanimals.com).
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