Walking the Talk: Living our values at D.D. Bean Atlas Match

You can’t survive in the match industry without having deeply held values.  Not only do we have a long-standing commitment to the industry and matches as the last American producer, but we have 6-core values we live by:

  • Communication
  • Innovation
  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • Dependability
  • Positivity

It is no accident that the same core values that have helped us overcome the challenges of the last 20-years are the values that have sustained us during the coronavirus crisis.  By conducting ourselves daily -D.D. Bean and Atlas Match – in accordance with our core-values have nurtured habits and practices that have allowed us to carry on in the face of adversity.  Nobody saw the pandemic coming.  We are grateful that we had some skills to help us cope.


As the coronavirus unfolded, we adapted.  It meant a lot of changes.  And fast.  But we are open minded and agile.  We adapted to the circumstances as best we could. We are still adapting.  We are so proud of how willing and able our employees have been to the adaptations. 


Match making is an old art.  And much of our equipment is old.  In fact, we still use a tray former that dates back to the last century!  But we have innovated where it counts.  The company, its leaders, mechanics, and operators live by a continuous improvement mindset.  The curiosity endemic to our work force delivers innovative solutions time and time again.  We may be an old American industry, but we are never stagnant.

Today, we are deploying a new digital transformation strategy to help us be a better supplier to the matchbook, box match, and coaster market.  We are partnering with Xerox and XMPie in a novel way to provide faster, consistent, high quality match and beer coaster products to America.  We want to make sure anyone that needs a match, can get a match. On their terms.  Designed and ordered by them, on their schedule.  Not on our terms.  We want to meet the market where it is.  Ordering matches online.

The D.D. Bean Time Machine

Time Machine

I recently heard an interview with the founder of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya, and I loved the way he described the upstate New York factory as a time machine.  It was the dedicated employees and the traditional equipment that drew him in and triggered him to purchase and revive the yogurt business.

When we give tours at D.D. Bean to vendors and match collectors and prospective employees they express the same sentiment.  A Time Machine.  We are not insulted when people say this.  We are proud.  Because it means we are true stewards of our craft.  It means we have stitched together the important match making traditions with modern technologies.

Match Strips at D.D. Bean
Match Strips

Our plant represents generations of hard work and clever engineering.  Today, we put all that to good use as the only American match maker.  It may not be every day that Americans think about matches.  It may be only the rare occasion when you can’t find your lighter, or you are camping and need to start the fire.  It could be when you want a nifty and eco-friendly ignition for your candles or incense.  Maybe you prefer a matchstick when lighting your cigar or pipe or rolled tobacco.  Whatever your reason for grabbing the matchbook or box of matches, you expect them to be there.  And that is our goal.  To remain America’s Match Company for this generation and the next. 

D.D. Bean Plant Jaffrey, NH
D.D. Bean Plant

This time machine will be here dependably making matches the traditional way for years and years and years.  For all Americans.

How to Buy Advertising in a Recession

restaurant matchbook covers

Turning up the Heat with Matchbook Advertising

So your ad budget has been cut.  The pandemic has shifted dollars from ad spend to necessary operational or administrative costs.  Maybe you are so unsure of how the recovery is going to unfold, so you are holding onto your cash.  Or your boss has simply said “No” spending.

In times so financial difficulty, advertising budgets are often the first cut.  According to a June 16, 2020, Wall Street Journal article “Ad Spending in U.S. Forecast to Dive 13%” the advertising industry is going to take a real hit.  So if you have cut your ad budget, you are not alone.  National and local brands are cutting back.  Even sole proprietors are watching the purse strings very carefully. 

The PPP (Paychex Protection Program) funds don’t allow for any advertising expense forgiveness.  Even though it is crucial to your restaurant’s health to get the word out that you are now open for business (with whatever your state restrictions are), the forgivable PPP funds can’t be used for that.

What are your options for promoting your business in a post-covid environment?  How can you maximize your spend to reach the most people?  What is the most affordable advertising?

  • Digital advertising

Many business owners are focusing on digital advertising.  There is an endless range of price points for buying this type of advertising.  Most common is the ‘per click’.  So you only pay if your ad gets a “hit”.

This type of advertising is critical for any business.  And if you don’t want to spend on digital because it seems complicated (i.e., Google Ads or Facebook Ads), there is always the free and easy to use Google-My-Business.  Also known as GMB.

If you haven’t set up your GMB page, do it now.  Like right now.  Stop reading this blog, and go to the setup page.  After you have started that process, come back and finish reading the blog, because now we get to the good stuff.

  • Print advertising

Say what?  Who is investing in print these days.  Well the answer is less than before.  Print advertising is falling at a rate of 26% (source:  WSJ, 6/16/2020, Ad Spending in U.S. Forecast to Dive 13%).  We are particularly sad about this because the iconic print industry helped to build this country.  But as a realist, we understand that technology and time move one.  Magazines and newspapers, publishers of all types of distributed printed content, are feeling the downward pressure.  To offset the decline, print publishers are augmenting with digital media.

  • Promotional Products

Saving the best for last.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  The creative designers who miss the tangible output of a well-crafted print ad campaign, can look to promotional products to get their creative fix.

Print on matchbooks and box matches.  Why not?  These palm-billboards are a tiny canvas for your logo or message.  And they can be created in thousands, so you can gleefully give one to each of our cherished customers. 

The cost?  Pennies each.  There are price points for every budget.  The flexibility to design is almost endless, and the lead time is a just 10-working days.  Best of all – the matches are made right here in the good old USA by D.D. Bean and Atlas Match.  Produced by… wait for it… real matchmakers.  Our staff has been mixing chemicals, punching match stems from recycled paperboard, and printing match covers since 1938.  So why not give it a try?  The risk is small for you and the upside is huge.

The answer to buying advertising in a recession starts with matchbooks.  Use this unique and American Made tiny-canvas to get your message across.  Once you have this give-away match at your restaurant or bar or other business, the consumer will do the rest.  They take the matches and from there it travels with them to be viewed by as many as 10-new people.  And that’s not all – the match holder, the one who accepted your generous gift of a matchbook, will see the image at least 20-times – repetition is the key to memorable advertising.

Spark Your Imagination:

Take the Match: Sustainability of Matches Over Lighters

matchbook ddbean

The choice between striking a match or using a disposable lighter does not seem like a difficult or worrying decision for consumers.  It is easy to use what is on hand at the time without really thinking about any of the consequences it has.  When consumers do not think about these decisions, it shows how these simple choices we make can have negative effects on the environment.  Sustainable matches are easily recyclable and biodegradable.

            Unlike lighters, matches are made from wood or paper, which is easily biodegradable.  Because they are biodegradable, they won’t contribute to the growing waste problem in the world.  The most common type of wood matches are made from aspen or white pine.  Each tree can create hundreds of thousands of match sticks.  For an interesting read on the history of matches, try Prelude to the American Match Industry Story.            

          Full sized lighters can burn up to an hour.  These lighters eventually run out and are turned to be thrown away. Once a lighter is disposed, it will exist in our environment forever.  After they are disposed, these lighters will be either thrown into landfills, on the streets, or swept into the ocean.  Once these lighters are disposed into the ocean, they will easily be mistaken by fish for birds to eat.  One type of bird that is strongly affected by pollution is the Laysan Albatross bird.  This bird catches fish by skimming the water with its beak.  While doing this, it picks up other debris and plastic from the ocean.  In this article about the Layman Albatross birds, there are images showing that they have consumed disposable lighters.  This will kill them quickly, once eaten.

While it isn’t a pressing decision whether to use a match or a lighter, it is an easy choice.  Matches are usually free and can be found in a lot of different restaurants and stores.  This makes them even more accessible than lighters for people.  Highly engaged community convenience stores like Wawa and Sheetz, give away the books for free to their loyal customers who may prefer a recyclable match to the plastic lighter. Take the match.

The sustainability of matches over lighters can tremendously improve how the environment is affected.  Matches are biodegradable and environmentally friendly, which makes them an easy choice over a lighter.  They are also produced in the USA, which means a smaller carbon footprint over imported disposable lighters. To learn more about the match industry and the last match factory in America read more blogs on the DDBean website.

Eliza Smith is a guest blogger and a student intern. She is studying Business at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. She loves the beach at Sullivan’s Island, and was inspired to write this blog about the impact of plastic on the oceans and the willingness to make a better choice for the environment.

American Match Industry – Part 2

We learned in Part 1, that by 2019 all the match factories that once existed in America were closed or sold, resulting in what we have today – one match factory in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.  As the sole survivor and steward to the iconic industry, we will be writing the future as we go.  But don’t worry, we have a plan.

Imagine if you were to visit the factory to see the new match operations:

“A new era of match making has emerged.  By combining the technologies of the Bean plant and the Atlas plant, all the different variations of match making methods are on display-in operating form-every day.  Because the match factories were rolling up for many years – since 1973 – the legacy of all matchmaking equipment is now bolted down to the D.D. Bean plant floor.  For example, we are running the very same equipment that was used in Canada at the Eddy Match plant, until it’s closure in 1999. 

On the shop floor you will find the best-of-the-best book match making equipment in the world.  The original D.D. Bean commodity matchbook machines are a marvel in their own right.  These matchbook or “booking” machines, run at twice the speed of any other semi-automated match-making machine ever in production.  Caddy packing is fully automated to meet the high-speed rate of the assembly machine.  The pace is rapid, but the quality – due to decades of honing the machine – is excellent.  World class.

Further down the production line, you will see the promotional and advertising matchbooks being produced on the card and flat fed machines.  Standing alongside these mechanized, synchronized, harmonized assembly machines are a team of American workers.  Each member of the team takes turns operating and packing for the machine.  Both operators are highly trained in quality control and take great pride in turning out a product our customers are delighted to own and share.

At the heart of the operation, deep inside the old brick and beam mill building, is the mixing room.  Four large kettles are filled and emptied and refilled daily, with all the match-making chemicals.  This is no easy job.  Historically, each match factory had its own formula for mixing match heads; each plant employed an official Match Chemist to monitor and modify the formula as needed.  Some plants have used robotics to blend the chemicals with electronic weighing systems. We prefer the traditional method of hand weighing and blending the chemicals.

In the mixing room, you will see important process controls, variable speed monitors, sensors, pumps.  But the key to a successful batch of match head composition is the mixer – his name is Cliff.  Years of practice and his batches come out the same every time.  We know, because we test every one.

This new era match factory employs many other specialists too.  In addition to experienced machine operators (which requires years of training because all of our machines are one-of-a-kind) and experts in mixing the match head, there is a team of mechanics and a team of printers.  Both are specialized to support the modern match plant.”

This modern match plant is the natural progression in a mature industry.  What you won’t see are the milestones between the match plant closings of the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s.  You won’t see the dramatic change in distribution channels when the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) banned advertising of cigarettes on matches.  And you won’t see the progressive disappearance of a free matchbook. 

Each of these major events have inevitably jolted the industry from the path it was on to a completely new and unmarked one.  The American match-makers have risen to the challenge each time, and proven their ingenuity and perseverance by refusing to go away.  This is a story of survival. This is a story of commitment.  This is a story of an industry refusing to become obsolete.  Refusing to be eradicated by advanced manufacturing or robotics.  Refusing to be erased by imported substitute products.  We make fire.  Portable fire for everyone.  Right here in the USA.  And we will not be snuffed out.