Community Spirit Drives Success on R&B Train
Community involvement has been part of R&B Plastics Machinery’s mission since its founding 34 years ago. Friendly competition and the holiday spirit helped R&B again take first place in the 36th Annual Saline Christmas Parade, according to Al Hodge, President. The company was one of 65 entries in a small-town parade that attracts up to 70,000 people a year, according to the Saline Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the event. This year’s theme was ”A Polar Express,” based on the popular children’s book and movie.
Parade participants had just six weeks to create floats using this theme. R&B’s “float team” was lead by Phil Smith, Plant Supervisor, along with a strong work crew designing, building and decorating the plywood float, complete with special touches like the bell, a cow-catcher and a real smoke machine for the engine’s smokestack. The dedicated team had clever ideas, such as using the original electric sign once affixed to the exterior of the original R&B Machine Tool building (the original parent company to R&B Plastics Machinery), and the engine’s number is the company’s street address.
The large, two-part float included the company’s flatbed truck disguised as a train engine (complete with black contact paper to hide its white cab), and the passenger car was built to replicate a real train car, including lights, trees, benches and other decorations. An extra-large generator powered the lights. Nearly 20 people rode the car, mostly the children and grandchildren of R&B employees. Other employees walked alongside throwing candy to the crowd, which roared approval as the large float chugged up Michigan Ave. (“Main St. USA”).