By DAVID A. WILSON
Following the regular monthly lunch meeting, held at Burgher Haus on Wednesday, Aug. 14, several members of the Board of Directors of the Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Council (MRED) toured the Arkansas Valley Feather facility north of California.
Although everyone was aware of the presence of the company in the city, the touring MRED members expressed surprise at the "hidden secret" of how major the feather company is and the extent of the California headquartered operation.
Although the company started in 1975 when John Dick, who tied flies for fly fishermen, began obtaining feathers from poultry processors, it acquired Zucker Feathers which was founded in 1872. The company remains a major supplier of fly fishing and salt water fishing feathers.
The site north of California houses the offices, warehouse, shipping and sales departments. They package some feathers locally and, since the telephone orders have given way to internet sales, the art department creates photos for on-line viewing.
There are two more company locations in California. The one on North East Street serves as the dying factory and the one on South High Street is the drying facility.
According to the web site at zuckerfeather.com or the featherplace.com, the business is number one in manufacture and wholesale supplies for the feather industry.
Abigail Arauz, granddaughter of John Dick, guided the MRED tour group, assisted by Jeannie Pratt. The tour began in the office area, which moved from California on the Courthouse Square in 2002 to the location north of the city. She demonstrated the wide variety of products available by showing a display in the office area similar to ones used at the 15 trade shows a year.
The company has has a showroom for its products in New York City for 18 years and another in Los Angeles for six years.
The business offers "peacock feathers, ostrich feathers, white feathers, black feathers, pheasant feathers, wholesale turkey feathers, rooster feathers, and more."
Creations include feather boas, feather masks and feather fans at the factory. Items sold include angel wings and feather masks around the world. Many of the company's wholesale ostrich feathers are used in making dresses with feathers.
In addition to completed products, the company sells feathers in packages as well as bulk feathers for those using them in feather-craft projects.
There are cheap feathers, large and small; feathers for weddings and for centerpieces; by the plume; and pink and red colored feathers. They are the largest supplier of turkey feathers, as well as duck and goose feathers for use by hat makers and the fashion industry and feather hair accessories.
"We are your source for everything plumes and feathers," the company website says.