Frank Mayer and Associates grabs consumers’ attention

If Nintendo wants to display a game system for in-store customer testing, it turns to Grafton-based Frank Mayer and Associates Inc.

The company designs and assembles in-store merchandising, interactive kiosks, retail ready displays and point of purchase marketing services.

At the company’s 80,000-square-foot headquarters in Grafton, employees work to design, engineer, estimate and prototype customers’ display ideas.

“We will gather the information from our contacts—what are they looking to accomplish?” said Michael Mayer, president and chief operating officer.

The displays could be in-line, end cap, countertop, wall-hanging or another configuration.

“A lot of times, the request will be to come up with something modular that we work in a number of different configurations,” said Ryan Lepianka, creative director.

To model what a display will look like, the company uses its model shop in Grafton to manufacture prototypes from metal, wood and plastic. Frank Mayer has a paint booth, where it can color match for a customer’s product.

“Everything we do is custom for our client,” Michael said. “We will never use the same shape or tooling for our clients. We have created a very good reputation in terms of being creative, responsive and thorough.”

The company outsources parts production to local manufacturers, and the final products are assembled at Midwest Assembly, Warehouse & Distribution LLC in West Bend, which is also owned by the Mayer family.

“Our biggest advantage is the ability to bring different parts and pieces from numerous different vendors, put them all together, and ship out a finished product,” said George Bichanich, general manager and chief operating officer at Midwest Assmebly.

The company was founded in 1931 by Frank G. Mayer, a graphic artist. It eventually began offering silk screen printing and then expanded into designing temporary displays and later semi-permanent displays as it followed consumer product trends.

Today, Frank Mayer and Associates makes semi-permanent, permanent and interactive displays. The founder’s son, Frank W. Mayer, serves as chairman and chief executive officer. Michael is the third generation in the family business.

The company’s interactive displays have evolved from laser disk players that ran short videos about 25 years ago to the modern day Solo Health Stations the company designed for large retailers like Wal-Mart. Customers interact with the machine to measure blood pressure, body mass index and conduct eye exams.

In-store merchandising displays present products like paint samples for Pittsburgh Paints and golf clubs for Mizuno. And retail ready displays include cell phone charging stations and tablet PC displays for consumers.

The goal of Frank Mayer products is to help a consumer compare products in store and make an informed decision, Michael said.

“Seventy-plus percent of all buying decisions happen at retail,” he said. “What we’re trying to do for clients is capture the consumer attention at retail.”

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