Small Business

Made Here: Ready to manufacture clients’ dreams

Michelle Di Gangi
Small Business Banking

Manufacturing in America is alive and well. In our “Made Here” series, we talk to some of our manufacturing business clients and learn how they’ve flourished in spite of tough odds in recent years.

Tom Prato in front of his store that features very ornate ironwork on the windows and outdoor railings.Artistic Iron Works, which has been in existence since 1971, is a family-run, veteran-owned, state-of-the-art ornamental iron gallery and custom fabrication facility, specializing in home security, iron gates, railing and fencing, and much more. The business, based in Las Vegas, is the largest full-service wrought iron company in the nation and has manufactured custom pieces for thousands of customers, including famous artists and chefs.

In our brief interview, CEO and Founder Tom Prato shared his experiences and insights running a successful company. The company’s longevity is remarkable, and I think his attitude may be a good inspiration for others.

Q: Being that Artistic Iron Works has been in business since 1971, how has the company managed through the ebbs and flows of the U.S. economy?

A: Because we have been in business for many years and have dealt with the highs and lows of the economy, we’ve learned that listening to the customers’ needs is what’s important, as they’re the ones making the purchase! Customer safety comes first, and we will do whatever we can to meet their budget needs.

What made you get into manufacturing?

As a young family man, I had to provide for my family and wanted to start my own business. I started selling patio furniture and then realized I could make more money selling home security, fencing, and gates; so I hired a welder and we started building home security. Before long it had turned into a full ornamental fabrication business. Hard work and determination pays off.

What are a few tips you’d give a new business owner starting in manufacturing?

  • Stick to what you know.
  • Take your time and expand when the time is right.
  • Always service your customers after the job is complete!

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced being in manufacturing?

You will always face challenges when you own a business. It comes with the territory. One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is supply and demand: getting supplies and keeping an inventory. We now buy in bulk to cut the cost associated with fabrication.

As the largest full-service wrought iron company in the nation, what do you enjoy most about creating custom iron creations?

Our motto is. “If you can dream it, we can build it.” Some people have incredible dreams, and we are always up for the challenge!

What is the most unique piece you’ve created?

There are a few that stand out in my mind. A fish for Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House restaurant, an incredible Eiffel Tower replica for actress Phyllis McGuire, as well as some trains for a company called Dental Express.

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