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Creating Yooper Fire Starters

How you can help Lakestate Industries continue production.
Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 4:39 PM EST
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - Lakestate Industries is a U.P. based company focused on vocational training for people with barriers to employment.

“Our goal is to help people find jobs in the community. Sometimes we are able to help them find jobs by teaching them work skills right here at Lakestate,” said Cheryl Ohman, executive director at Lakestate Industries.

But most notably, Lakestate Industries makes around 100,000 Yooper Fire Starters a year. Those are shipped out to 32 different states. You can also customize the “Yooper Fire Starter” name on the label.

“Not everybody knows what a Yooper is, so when we ship them, we can do an individual label of whatever they want them to be called,” said Ohman.

But Lakestate could not continue making and shipping fire starters without donations from the community. Escanaba Women’s Club has been donating used wax, paper, and toilet paper rolls to Lakestate for at least ten years.

“It’s just something we didn’t think about as being any kind of big deal, just something we’ve been doing to help out Lakestate,” said Susan Clifton, vice president of the Escanaba Women’s Club.

Clifton encourages other organizations to do the same.

“Other organizations in town that meet regularly, maybe you would want to adopt the same procedure. Just remind people to bring wax and toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls and it really does help them,” said Clifton.

If you have wax, toilet paper rolls and even paper that needs to be shredded, Lakestate can use all of it to continue making the fire starters and continue providing employment to those that might not otherwise find it.

“If you have confidential documents that you need shredded, we can shred them for you and we take all the colored stuff that’s in the shredding and we turn those into the fire starters,” said Ohman.

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