BROOKLYN - Glenn Parlee and his family-owned business, Parlee Manufacturing, continues to expand their reach.
Glenn and his wife, Kathi started the business in 1985. Glenn was a recreation professional running adventure excursion in rural Nova Scotia and found it was difficult to find adventure equipment suitable. He enlisted Kathi, a seamstress, and they began to create their own recreational products suitable for excursions.
From recreation packs and equipment, emergency service providers were intrigued with the Parlee's recreational products and packs, and a new product line was born for service providers. Packs were customized to the meet the customer's needs.
These packs have been used for many years by EHS providers and aboard Lifeflight in the province and across Canada.
On May 19, at an open house event, they launched a new product, called the Versatile Integrated Pack System (VIP System), which gives customers the ability to customize the packs themselves.
"It is very exciting. This is a project that we have been working on for almost three years to get it where we wanted it and where it needed to be," said Glenn Parlee. "Each agency can now customize their product without us having to custom-make the product for them. The idea behind it is that it can be versatile and tailored to people's needs and now we're at the point where it's ready to go out."
The packs are hand-made out of strong and durable, 1,000 Deniera Cordura nylon fabric.
All of the packs have reflective materials which are replaceable, and they come with a PVC skid plate to protect the pack.
Parlee said one of the main features of the VIP packs, made with is the Velcro-sensitive material inside with dividers that can be changed to fit the particular piece of equipment as needed. All of the packs have reflective materials which are replaceable, and they come with a PVC skid plate to protect the pack. You can also easily change the colour on the front of the pack as well.
The packs also come with a 10G restraint system so whether personnel are carrying it in a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft or in an ambulance these bags can be anchored in any of these vehicles.
Parlee said the response to the new line has been "extremely good." Stating that being in the business for almost 40 years they have built some great relationships with local agencies who have helped design the product and tested it out.
Dale Trier from Waverley has been a paramedic since 1988 and a Critical Care Flight Paramedic since 1994, working for the air medical transport service out of a base in Halifax.
He has been using the new VIP system for one year.
"The new kit system gives us options that we have never had before, including the ability to configure them based on our needs and specific tasks or procedures," he said in an email. "They allow us to secure and protect critical pieces of expensive medical equipment without having to worry that we'll damage it."
He said they have different kits for different procedures carrying everything from IV pumps, ventilators, monitors, analyzer, medications and intravenous fluids.
"We're very happy with where we're at. We asked the questions of the people who are using it and what they need and what they want," said Parlee. "We also checked what's coming down the line in terms of regulations for what they have to carry, as we try to have a pack that once it's off our line is not obsolete immediately so we're building a pack for what's coming up, not what has passed."
Parlee products can be found on many EHS vehicles and air medical transports throughout the Maritimes.Right now he is looking at expanding more throughout North America, then possibly shipping to other countries.
With that expansion he is looking at adding employees and space which is something he will be "addressing in the very near future."
Parlee Manufacturing, right now, is run out of the back of his other business, Liverpool Outdoor Adventures. While many people may start slowing down after 37 years in a business, Parlee said they continue to look for ways to grow.
Along with the new product line, came a new focus on e-commerce.
"The way the business climate was one of the things that sort of made us make this change. We had started developing our product before COVID-19 hit," said Parlee. "That showed us a lot of people are interested in going direct."
He explained that in the past, a product would be developed, distribution channels would be set up, you would then have a representative that would go into retail stores who would sell to the consumer. With more people shopping online, there is more competition, and the next step had to be the way that products were priced.
He said that selling direct with the end-consumer allowed them to cut-out the middle man and be more cost efficient.
Making this move created another challenge, however.
"We can't do a custom product for everybody across Canada. It's easy to do if you are just in Nova Scotia. You get together with an agency once a month to look at their needs, develop a custom product and go into production," said Parlee. "It's a little more difficult when the distances are greater and through COVID-19 we couldn't travel. So when we were looking to launch this product we had to make something that was customizable, but not a custom made product and get it out of Atlantic Canada."
This is where Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) entered the scene.
"They were instrumental in helping us with the digital assets in terms of video, photography and developing the website so people could order product online," said Parlee.
"The website is up now, but it is a work in progress. I do think COVID-19 helped us to make the decision that if you want to get this product to a larger audience, we pretty much had to go direct and have a stronger e-commerce presence."
He said the answer to the other part of the "Why now?" question is "none of us our getting younger, so if we're going to make the move, now is the time to do it. We felt this product was one that we're very proud of. We also feel there is a definite need for this product that crosses over different industries. So now is the time and we're happy that we took the time to make take it where it is now."
The company employees nine full-time workers including Glenn, Kathi and their daughter Caitlin and is located just outside of Liverpool on Trunk 3 and they share space with their other business, Liverpool Adventure Outfitters.
Article by Kevin McBain, reposted from LighthouseNow!
It all started in 1985 with a simple observation.
Glenn Parlee, a recreation professional running adventure excursions in rural Nova Scotia, noticed it was difficult to find adventure equipment suited to the Atlantic Canadian environment. Frustrated with the lack of variety in available equipment, he enlisted the help of his wife Kathi, a gifted seamstress, to create outdoor recreational products suited for water and forest-based excursions. And so, Parlee Manufacturing —a family-owned business operating out of Liverpool, Nova Scotia—was born.
“Customers here wanted a product for their specific needs – not to be pigeonholed into somebody else’s,” says Parlee.
“That’s what inspired us to create the company – to provide quality, Canadian-made products that were suited to our environments.”
Branching out from recreation to life-saving
Over the years, local emergency services providers saw the quality of Parlee’s recreational products and thought maybe those same style of packs would work well for carrying ambulance gear and supplies. Fast forward nearly forty years later, Parlee Manufacturing has established itself as a preferred supplier of medical equipment packs and bags for several provincial EMS organizations, and a growing list of agencies across the country.
How did this come to be? Well, much the same way as it started out – it all came down to meeting a specific customer need. Parlee Manufacturing’s medical equipment products became the go-to in the provincial industry. As happy customers started recommending Parlee packs to other crews and operators across Canada, their customer base grew outside of Nova Scotia. And now Parlee Manufacturing has released a new line of products that make it even easier for customers to get exactly what they need.
The brand new Versatile Integrated Pack System (VIP System) is an evolution of the original pack that started many years ago. It offers all the benefits of a custom product, but now the operators are customizing it themselves. This move towards a more streamlined product line has helped boost business in several ways. It allows emergency medical service operators to create a pack that works for them without requiring custom creations every time equipment changes.
“It seems every month there’s a new regulation or a new change or a lack of supply on a piece of equipment, meaning they have to put another piece of equipment in that doesn’t fit in the old compartment,” says Parlee.
“We started thinking about how to make a product that doesn’t become obsolete the day it rolls off our machines. With this system, it’s basically an empty slate with different components, and then they build the pack themselves.”
The new simplified product line also allows Parlee Manufacturing to scale more easily, cutting down on SKUs and streamlining manufacturing. This opened the door to implement e-commerce – something Parlee says became necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m still a guy that loves to be in front of customers,” he laughs. “But with the pandemic we knew we needed to embrace the new way of doing business.”
Parlee enlisted the help of Donna Hatt, a local consultant, to navigate the process of building up an online presence. Hatt suggested looking into available government programs and contacted Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) for assistance.
“I just reached out and touched base with (Regional Business Development Advisor for South Shore) Malinda Matchett and she was down here in a heartbeat. She jumped in and introduced us to the programs and said, ‘Let’s see what might fit.’”
With the help of Matchett, Parlee Manufacturing applied for NSBI’s Export Development Program, as well as programs through Digital Nova Scotia, to access funding to create new digital marketing assets including promotional videos, photography, and an e-commerce platform. Parlee says these digital tools play an important role in continuing to bypass distributors and operate a direct-to-customer model, which keeps costs down and allows them to compete with foreign providers.
“We have gone through distributors in the past, but you’re just another page in the book,” he says. “Being able to go direct – that was the joy of making this website. We’re direct with customers now, which is really where we have always seen success.”
When it came time to work with a vendor to create marketing assets and develop an e-commerce platform, Parlee chose local South Shore companies and consultants who were familiar with the products.
“The whole package is homegrown. Every component of this was made in Nova Scotia, which is cool,” he says.
Reflecting on the company’s digital marketing journey, Parlee credits programs from organizations like Nova Scotia Business Inc. for providing essential support.
“Without this program, none of this would have happened. It was that crucial as the kickstart,” says Parlee. “And it was seamless – it was very easy.”
Looking ahead, Parlee says the company intends to add more products to their e-commerce offering, including a focus on recreational.
“The recreational product was a tough sell over the last 10 years because of competition. Not having to go through distribution and retail, now we’re competitive again with the whole recreational line.”
In the meantime, he is pleased that the company is seeing results from their digital effort.
“The whole thing is just going to make it a whole lot easier to sell product, which is the name of the game,” he says.
“It really was the changing point in the focus of our business. And the satisfying part is that it’s working already.”
Article reposted from: https://www.novascotiabusiness.com/articles/parlee-manufacturing-how-liverpool-company-entered-business-life-saving
A Brooklyn based manufacturer is hoping to conquer Canada and beyond with a new product line and a fresh approach to their business. Parlee Manufacturing launched their Versatile Integrated Packs (VIP) as a customizable, off-the-shelf solution that can be tailored for any situation.
Glen Parlee, president of Parlee Manufacturing says the product was born from the close relationships with first responder agencies in Nova Scotia.
“Actually seeing how the product is used and talking to the people on the frontlines, not a purchasing agent but the person on the front lines that’s using it and asking the question, what would make your job easier? What would work better for your particular application? That’s the information that we need to make a product that’s always up-to-date and ready to go,” said Parlee.
Members from EHS Lifeflight and the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables were on hand at the product launch to demonstrate how the modular system has been adapted to their particular uses.
Even before the pandemic hit in 2020, Parlee Manufacturing was looking for ways to better connect to the customers. With the help of Nova Scotia Business Inc and Digital Nova Scotia the company has rebranded and refreshed their websites and will be selling the new products direct to customers, online.
Parlee says by cutting out the middleman they can not only reduce costs and stay competitive against offshore producers but give the customer what they want.
“Maybe the set up that they see online, one of our sample ones that maybe a local organization is using doesn’t fit with their needs,” said Parlee. “We can help them decide, okay, if we change some of these, with these accessories, this might work for you. Then we can customize a pack without making a custom pack.”
Parlee and his wife Kathi started selling adventure products in 1985 and rebranded the business to Parlee Manufacturing in 2003. With a full-time workforce of nine people, they still produce everything in their shop in Brooklyn, just outside Liverpool. Parlee says when dealing with a larger order the family business can bring in up to 15 people. Despite issues in other sector, he doesn’t see his company having an issue finding labour.
“Our average employee is not the average employee,” said Parlee. “Most of our seamstresses are folks that, their kids have gone back to school or they may be folks that have kids in school, so we’re very flexible.”
Parlee says their products are already in use across Nova Scotia and with the new product, new business model and new online presence, the goal is to have Parlee products in the hands of first responders across Canada in short order.
Reposted from QCCR https://www.qccrfm.com/news/2022/05/20/brooklyn-family-business-ready-to-take-on-all-of-canada/
Liverpool, Nova Scotia – Liverpool’s Parlee Manufacturing launches new VIP Product for Export
Parlee Manufacturing may not be a household name, but in Nova Scotia it is among Emergency Heath Services Ambulance bays and onboard LifeFlight, and soon this family-run small business in Liverpool expects their newly launched Versatile Integrated Pack (VIP) system solution to be known well beyond these borders too.
Don’t let their unassuming façade fool you. Nestled within their shop located just outside of Liverpool, a space they share with their Liverpool Adventure Outfitters retail store, Parlee Manufacturing is a seasoned manufacturer of pack system solutions for those within the medical, fire, emergency, and safety sectors, and they have been since 1985.
For most of us, it’s not likely we’d be familiar with their products, even their name. However, should you ever be the recipient of care in an emergency at an accident or while going about your daily business, at least in Nova Scotia, the ‘packs’ that securely carry the gear and equipment responders need at their
fingertips are made by Parlee Manufacturing.
Quietly manufacturing these ‘packs’ for several years, satisfying demand here in Nova Scotia, they are
now armed with a new design that’s more versatile and customizable. While they’ve been proud to be a
longstanding supplier to EHS, the company has sights set on exports.
Building on their reputation for delivering high-quality, reliable and resilient ‘pack systems’, they’ve taken insights and user knowledge from frontline responders to push their designs even further. After months in development and testing, the company proudly introduced its new Versatile Integrated Pack system, the VIP System, earlier this year.
Adaptable and rugged, company president Glenn Parlee suggests this will be a game-changer product for frontline users, and his company.
Parlee says, "We originally started years ago making adventure equipment and while we continue to do so, it's been our evolution into the production of emergency pack systems that has become a focus and opportunity for us."
As makers of Day Packs, Medical Packs, First-In Packs, Oxygen Packs, Patient Wraps, Trauma Bags, Paramedic Bags, etc., Parlee says it was their intimate understanding of the challenges and needs of frontline responders, particularly within Nova Scotia’s EHS teams that inspired the development, testing and now manufacturing of their customizable VIP system.
Made from scratch, the ‘shop’ is a tightly ‘stitched’ operation. Filling orders for their original designs, from the initial cutting of the materials to the assembly of the dozens of pieces that go into each item, the Parlee team is lean and local, skilled and scalable.
“We’re like a family here, and in fact we actually are," says Parlee with a chuckle, adding, "in addition to our assembly team, I work alongside Kathi, my wife, and Caitlin my daughter, it really is a family business."
Coinciding with the launch of their new VIP System product line, the company’s digital presence was treated to a VIP make-over as well. Parlee says with their sights set on exporting into the rest of Canada, although they are well known and have a proven track record within Nova Scotia, they’d need a stronger more professional presence digitally.
Tapping into expertise and export programs available from Nova Scotia Business Inc. and Digital Nova Scotia, the company launched a number of new tools. A trio of new company and product videos were developed with Mint Content, which has local family ties to Liverpool. Parlee’s logo and branding materials were refreshed, and a new website and online store were created, with the assistance of Skysail of Mahone Bay. Embracing the need to be engaged ‘socially’, Parlee says they have expanded their social media channels as well.
Now in their 37th year, as they head toward their 40th anniversary in 2025, Parlee Manufacturing has just begun to mature. Glenn Parlee and his team once again demonstrate that Nova Scotian entrepreneurs are innovative, responsive, and resourceful, able to lead and compete with international products – but made here in Nova Scotia, by Nova Scotians, destined to be used across Canada.
For more information about Parlee Manufacturing visit their (new) website, parleemanufacturing.com.
Glenn Parlee, President
Parlee Manufacturing Ltd 902.354.2268 email@example.com