If you build it, they will hum. That is the idea behind the nation’s only plastic kazoo factory and it is right here in our area.
Beaufort’s own Kazoobie Kazoo Factory has been serving up smiles for kids and kids at heart for 17 years.
“I actually tell people I sell fun for a living, not kazoos,” said the company’s owner, Stephen Murray.
Murray says he was fortunate to fall into this business of fun as a teenager, acquiring his company when he was just 19-years-old. Today his 6,500-square foot facility produces more than a million kazoos each year.
“The Kazoo was invented in the United States, actually in Macon, Georgia, right up the road so it’s a southern instrument,” he told us.
Murray said this Southern tradition is bringing business from all over the world.
“Last year 25 percent of our gross sales were international. We shipped to over 30 countries last year. Asia is actually our fastest growing market,” he said.
But kazoo lovers right here at home are clamoring for his instruments too.
“You never know who’s going to call. It could be a Fortune 500 company looking for a promotional product to a clown alley in San Francisco to a rock band in Austin,” Murray said.
He has made it his mission to continue his commitment to manufacturing his products here at home.
“Manufacturing is what built a lot of this country, so we ought to strive to keep manufacturing here,” Murray told WJCL. “I’ve said as long as we can continue to be successful manufacturing out of the U.S. But the day we don’t have a successful model that I have to ship it overseas is the day that I have to get out of the kazoo business.”
Thankfully it does not look like that will happen anytime soon. Kazoobie Kazoos sees anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 visitors a month. And when you tour the factory, it is easy to see why.
“Whether you’re five years old or 85-years-old you’re going to have a lot of fun. The beauty of the kazoo is within a few minutes we can give you a quick lesson, you’re humming, you’re making a few notes, you usually have a smile on your face,” Murray said.
The kazoo factory is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. You can take a tour of the factory and even make your own kazoo. There is even have a kazoo museum and gift shop. Tickets are just five dollars.
For more information on Kazoobie Kazoos, click here.